Fiorentina and Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi faces a career-defining season as he looks to fight off injuries and take Serie A by storm.
The 27-year-old, who missed four months of last campaign through injury, is set to miss La Viola’s first match of the new season against Roma due to a recurrence on a knee injury.
Having missed out on a place in Italy’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil, the former Manchester United man has a point to prove and could wreak havoc upon Italian defences on his return.
Since leaving Manchester United back in 2007 the Italian has established himself amongst the most consistent strikers on the planet.
Having previously struggled in loan spells away at Newcastle and Parma, Rossi was permitted to leave Old Trafford by Sir Alex Ferguson having found dislodging Wayne Rooney, Louis Saha, Alan Smith and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer an unenviable task.
He then emulated former team-mate Diego Forlan in heading to Villarreal, and like the Uruguayan shone in the colours of his new side.
Rossi’s most fruitful season came during 2010-2011, where he found the net 32 times in 56 appearances, scoring more league goals than the likes of Karim Benzema, Roberto Soldado and Gonzalo Higuain in the process.
Such impressive form ultimately alerted Serie A giants Fiorentina, who swooped for the player in January 2013 with the forward having found the net a total of 82 times across six years in Spain.
When fit and firing Rossi has impressed in a Fiorentina jersey, yet much of how Vincenzo Montella’s side will fare in their pursuit of Champions League football depends on whether the Italian can string a run of games together.
Along with Mario Gomez and Juan Cuadrado he remains a vital clog of La Viola’s machine, and still managed to find the net 17 times in 24 appearances last term.
He experienced heartache as his side were beaten 3-1 by Rafael Benitez’s Napoli in the final of the Coppa Italia, yet produced the virtuoso display of the season by scoring a hat-trick to help condemn champions Juventus to a first defeat in Florence for 15 years.
The injury that derailed his season came back in January – a devastating sprain of his ligament in his right knee – with Rossi second in the Serie A goalscoring charts up until that point.
Fit for the future?
Missing the first game on the new campaign will hit the striker hard, but Rossi knows that this season could define his spell back in Italy.
He will be amongst the favourites to top the goalscoring charts, vying with the likes of Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata, and must hope to add his name to the list of players Ferguson was wrong to sell during his time at United.