The comeback of Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi from injury is a heart-warming tale that could have a significant impact on the Viola’s chances of a successful season.
Now 28-years-old, Giuseppe Rossi has been to hell and back due to a series of knee ligament problems that threatened to derail his career.
Since the issue surfaced in 2011 when employed by Spanish La Liga outfit Villarreal, the New Jersey-born goalscorer has broken down on a further three occasions, and missed the entire 2014-15 campaign as a result.
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The one-time Manchester United prospect finally returned as a substitute against Torino at the end of August, before making his first start for more than 15 months during a 1-0 home victory over Genoa.
Rossi was far from his phenomenal best in either appearance; given what he has endured, that’s hardly surprising.
He struck 16 goals in 21 Serie A outings throughout an injury-hit 2013-14 campaign, which illustrates the prolific nature of his goalscoring habits.
Pepito, as he is affectionately known, also rippled the net with great regularity at former club Villarreal, for whom he notched 82 goals in 192 total appearances prior to pitching up in Florence.
Though it failed to work out for the diminutive forward as a teenager in England, he later developed to such a degree that he became one of the most feared strikers on the planet.
Then, he was disappointingly forced out of action long-term, and Fiorentina lost their main attacking weapon.
Should he regain top form, then Rossi holds the potential to drag Fiorentina into Champions League reckoning.
He featured in Europe’s premier competition with Villarreal back in 2011-12, and indeed during his early days at United, but never for the Gigliati.
They missed out under previous coach Vincenzo Montella – by one place and five points – when ending last season in 4th spot.
Under new boss Paulo Sousa, they’ve played some attractive football on the way to two victories and one defeat, through a mixed bag of performances.
Expectations are high that Fiorentina can emulate the class of 2008-09, who were the last set of players to qualify for the Champions League, subsequently reaching the last-16 stage in 09-10.
Rossi certainly offers the predatory instincts sorely lacking last term, when the Viola’s top league scorer turned out to be midfielder Josip Ilicic on eight.
Plus, he has agreed a restructured contract, meaning a pay-cut in his basic salary, but with incentives included which allows him an opportunity to make up the shortfall.
Staying fit and scoring goals will ensure that happens while it'll also boost his chances of participation in Euro 2016 with Italy, whom he last represented in May 2014.
And, there’d be nobody more deserving of such success than Rossi, considering the arduous journey he has been on.
Do you think Rossi can regain the form and fitness that saw him become one of the most feared strikers in Europe? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below!