ROME (AP) — Former Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi’s injury-plagued career has another negative turn with a positive doping test.
Italy’s anti-doping agency Nado Italia announced on Tuesday that Rossi will stand trial next week after testing positive for an eye drug that can be used as a masking agent.
The anti-doping prosecutor is seeking a one-year ban.
The test was taken in May while Rossi played for Genoa at the end of the last Serie A season.
The New Jersey-born Rossi is currently out of contract.
Dorzolamide, the substance that Rossi tested positive for, is not banned when administered with eye drops but Rossi told anti-doping authorities that he did not use eye drops when he was questioned twice, in June and July.
“I’ve always been clean. This case should obviously be dismissed. The positive test is due to an involuntary food contamination,” Rossi said in a statement that his agent, Andrea Pastorello, provided to the ANSA news agency.
Rossi added that he could not say exactly what food or drink could have contained Dorzolamide but that the documentation provided to anti-doping authorities demonstrated that the doping was not intentional.
Genoa coach Davide Ballardini was quick to defend his former player.
“I hold few certainties in my life but among them is that Giuseppe Rossi has never used a banned substance,” Ballardini said.
The 31-year-old Rossi was born in the United States but played for Italy from 2008-14. His career has been slowed by a series of knee injuries.
After breaking out with Spanish club Villarreal, Rossi was in line to join the elite scorers in Europe when he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during a game against Real Madrid in October 2011. He needed three operations before returning in May 2013 after joining Fiorentina.
Rossi also missed four months of the 2013-14 season with a sprained ligament, ruling him out of Italy’s World Cup squad.
Rossi underwent a fourth operation on his troublesome right knee in September 2014 and missed the entire season. He returned to Spain in January 2016 with Levante, before joining Celta, where he tore the ACL in his left knee.
Rossi joined Genoa in December on a free transfer and scored one goal in 10 matches over the second half of last season.