Giuseppe Rossi (Italian pronunciation: [dʒuˈzɛppe ˈrossi]; born 1 February 1987) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a forward. Born in the United States, Rossi spent most of his career in Europe with Villarreal and Fiorentina, in addition to spells with other clubs in England, Italy, and Spain, before returning to his country of birth to join Real Salt Lake for a single season in 2020.
Rossi with Celta in 2017
|Full name||Giuseppe Rossi|
|Date of birth||1 February 1987|
|Place of birth||Teaneck, New Jersey, United States|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|2006||→ Newcastle United (loan)||11||(0)|
|2007||→ Parma (loan)||19||(9)|
|2016||→ Levante (loan)||17||(6)|
|2016–2017||→ Celta (loan)||18||(4)|
|2020||Real Salt Lake||7||(1)|
|2008||Italy Olympic team||6||(6)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 September 2020 (UTC)|
At international level, Rossi represented Italy at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, collecting 30 appearances and scoring seven goals at senior level between 2008 and 2014. Along with Mario Balotelli and Daniele De Rossi, he is Italy's all-time top scorer in the FIFA Confederations Cup, with 2 goals.
Due to his prolific performances in the Spanish La Liga, Rossi earned the nickname Pepito Rossi, a reference to his namesake Paolo Rossi, who was nicknamed Pablito following his goalscoring performances in Italy's victorious 1982 FIFA World Cup campaign in Spain.
Rossi is an Italian American, born to Italian immigrant parents in Teaneck, New Jersey. His father, Fernando Rossi from Fraine, Abruzzo, coached soccer and taught Italian and Spanish at Clifton High School. His mother, Cleonilde Rossi from Acquaviva d'Isernia, Molise, was also a language teacher at Clifton, and his sister, Tina, currently lives in the United States.
When offered a spot on the youth team of Parma, Rossi (then 12) and his father moved to Italy until Manchester United bought his contract when he was 17. His first-team debut came on 20 November 2004, at home to Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the League Cup, as an 84th-minute substitute for David Bellion.
For his Premier League debut on 15 October 2005, he came on in the 78th minute for Ruud van Nistelrooy and nine minutes later scored the last goal in a 3–1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. On 18 January 2006, in an FA Cup third-round replay, he started and scored twice as United beat non-league Burton Albion 5–0. Although Rossi did not play in the League Cup final against Wigan Athletic, Nemanja Vidić (who made a seven-minute cameo at the end of the game) gave Rossi his medal in recognition of Rossi's contribution to the team's success in the earlier rounds.
At the start of the 2006–07 season, Rossi moved to Newcastle United on loan until 1 January 2007, where he was expected to gain some first team experience. He made his home debut on 24 September 2006. Rossi scored his only Newcastle goal in his first start on 25 October 2006, against Portsmouth in a League Cup third round tie at St James' Park.
On 31 July 2007, Manchester United confirmed that Rossi had been sold to Spanish club Villarreal for an undisclosed fee, reportedly around £6.6 million (€10 million). He scored his first goal for Villarreal on his debut against Valencia on 26 August 2007.
In his second season with Villarreal, Rossi had scored 12 goals in 30 league appearances, along with three goals in eight Champions League appearances. In January 2011, he signed a contract extension with Villarreal until 2016. The 2010–11 season proved to be his breakthrough season, as he scored 32 goals in 56 appearances in all competitions, helping the club to a fourth-place finish in La Liga, scoring 18 goals, which qualified them for the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League, also helping Villarreal to the semi-finals of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League that season, scoring 11 goals, and the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. An anterior cruciate ligament injury on Rossi's right knee that he picked up in the 3–0 loss against Real Madrid on 26 October 2011 caused Rossi to be out for six months. Rossi reinjured his anterior cruciate ligament of right knee in training on 13 April 2012, and was out for a further 10 months.
On 4 January 2013, Fiorentina came to an agreement with Villarreal for the transfer of Rossi for a fee of approximately €11.8 million. On 7 January, Fiorentina held a press conference unveiling Rossi, where it was revealed the player had signed a four-year contract containing a €35 million release clause.
On 26 August, Rossi scored his first goal in 23 months in Fiorentina's opening match of the 2013–14 Serie A season – a 2–1 defeat of Catania. On 20 October, Rossi inspired Fiorentina to a 4–2 come from behind win over rivals Juventus, netting a 14-minute hat-trick that condemned Juve to their first defeat in Florence for 15 years.
On 5 January 2014, Rossi was substituted in Fiorentina's match against Livorno as he suffered a second-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The blow was dealt by Leandro Rinaudo, who tackled Rossi from behind in a manner so dirty that he drew international condemnation. Up to this point Rossi had been the leading goal scorer in Serie A with 14 goals in 18 league appearances.
Rossi returned to the pitch on 30 August 2015, in a 3–1 away defeat to Torino; later that week he also agreed with his club to take a salary cut. On 1 October, he scored his first goal since coming back from his injury in Fiorentina's 4–0 away victory over Belenenses in the Europa League.
Loan to Levante
On 22 January 2016, Rossi returned to La Liga by signing a loan deal until end of the season with Levante, in order to gain playing time, and a place in the Italian national side at Euro 2016. He made his club debut on 31 January, scoring in a 3–1 away defeat to Sevilla. On 13 March at the Estadi Ciutat de València, he scored the only goal of a win over city rivals Valencia CF, managed by his former United teammate Gary Neville. On 8 May, he scored a late winner in a 2–1 home win over title contenders Atlético Madrid, although the result was not sufficient to prevent the team from being relegated.
Loan to Celta Vigo
On 29 August 2016, Rossi signed a one-year contract with Celta de Vigo, with an option for another year. He scored his first goal for the club on his debut, which came in a 1–1 away draw against Standard Liège in Celta's opening group match of the Europa League. He made his league debut with the club on 18 September, coming on as a substitute in a 0–0 away draw against Osasuna. On 3 April 2017, Rossi scored a hat-trick in a 3–1 home win over Las Palmas in La Liga; this was his first goal since he scored against Espanyol on 25 September 2016, and his first hat-trick since 20 October 2013, when he scored three goals for Fiorentina in a 4–2 home win against Juventus. On 9 April 2017, Rossi suffered the fifth serious injury of his career when he ruptured the ACL in his left knee in a game against SD Eibar, and was consequently ruled out of action for at least 6 months. Rossi became a free agent in July after Fiorentina allowed his contract to expire and he subsequently rejected an offer by Celta to remain with the Spanish side until January 2018.
On 4 December 2017, Rossi was signed by Genoa on a free transfer. He made his debut for the club on 20 December, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2–0 away defeat against Juventus in the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia.
On 12 May 2018 Rossi failed a drug test following a Serie A match against Benevento, testing positive for the banned substance dorzolamide. Although the country's anti-doping prosecutor wanted Rossi to face a one-year ban for this offence, following a hearing with that took place on 1 October, Rossi was ultimately given a warning; afterward, Rossi's lawyer Sergio Puglisi claimed: "We don't understand how this substance ended up among Rossi's foods, there was no intentionality – the line of good faith and consistency prevailed." Rossi later tweeted: "A nightmare of four months is over. I only want to think about football."
2018–19 free agency
In January 2019, Rossi started training with his former club, Manchester United. In February of that year, Rossi was reported to have been invited to train with MLS side Los Angeles FC. On 14 October, his former club Villarreal announced that Rossi would start training with their first team. In an interview with Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera in December 2019, he stated that he was "ready to help out any Serie A team".
Real Salt Lake
Following a trial with the MLS club, Rossi was announced as a Real Salt Lake player on 27 February 2020. He made his club debut on 29 February, coming on as a late second–half substitute in a 0–0 away draw against Orlando City in the MLS. His contract option was declined by Salt Lake following their 2020 season.
Rossi represented Italy at almost every youth level from under-16 to under-21 levels. In 2006, he was invited to a pre-World Cup training camp with the United States national team by coach Bruce Arena but declined, stating his desire to play for Italy. He was called up for the 2007 Under-21 European Championship by Italy under-21 head coach Pierluigi Casiraghi. The following year, he scored four goals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, making him the top scorer of the tournament, despite only reaching the quarter-finals with Italy, following a 3–2 loss to Belgium on 16 August, in which he scored twice from the penalty spot; his other two goals came in the opening match of the competition – a 3–0 win against Honduras on 7 August, in which he scored the second goal of the game from a penalty – and in Italy's second group match on 10 August – a 3–0 win over Korea Republic – in which he scored the opening goal.
Italian national football team manager Marcello Lippi stated that had Rossi been fit, he would have received a call-up for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers in September 2008. Rossi was called up to the Italy squad in October 2008, making his senior debut for the national team as a second-half substitute in a 0–0 away draw against Bulgaria on 11 October, in a 2010 World Cup qualifier. Rossi scored his first goal for the Italian national team on 6 June 2009, in a friendly against Northern Ireland, at Pisa's Arena Garibaldi. He also scored two goals in a 3–1 win against his country of birth, the United States, in Italy's opening match of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa on 15 June 2009, although Italy subsequently lost their next two matches and suffered a first-round elimination.
Rossi was included in Lippi's provisional 28-man 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, which had been announced in May, but failed to make the cut for the final 23-man squad.
After a two-year absence from the national team due to injury, which saw him miss out on a place at Euro 2012, Rossi appeared in a 2014 World Cup qualifying match on 15 October 2013, as Italy drew 2–2 against Armenia at home. On 13 May 2014, Rossi was named in Italy's provisional 30-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, however on 1 June, it was announced that Rossi had not made the final 23-man World Cup squad.
Style of play
A quick and mobile left-footed forward, Rossi is known for his overall attacking and creative style of play, as well as his work-rate, movement off the ball, his powerful and accurate striking ability, and instincts in the box. Regarded as one of the most promising Italian players of his generation in his youth, his playing style has often been compared to that of compatriot Alessandro Del Piero, due to his acceleration, strong technical skills, range of passing, dribbling talents, and his ability to either score goals or pick out a pass and create chances for teammates; he has also been compared to his namesake, 1982 World Cup-winning striker Paolo Rossi, due to his opportunism, pace, agility, and eye for goal. In 2013, former Fiorentina playmaker Giancarlo Antognoni likened Rossi to fellow former Fiorentina number ten Roberto Baggio, "In terms of his touch and creativity." Giuseppe Rossi is known for his ability to both finish off chances and link-up well with midfielders; due to his abilities, he often drops deep between the lines and is involved in the buildup of plays. Because of this, Rossi is able to play in a variety of attacking positions, including on the wings, as a supporting striker, as a lone-striker, and in an attacking midfield role. He is also an accurate penalty taker. Despite his talent, skill, and goalscoring ability, Rossi's playing time has been limited in recent seasons due to several recurring injury problems.
|Newcastle United (loan)||2006–07||11||0||0||0||2||1||—||13||1|
|Celta Vigo (loan)||2016–17||18||4||4||1||—||7||1||29||6|
|Real Salt Lake||2020||7||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||1|
|Italy national team|
- Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year: 2004–05
- Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year: 2005–06
- Olympic Golden Boot: 2008
- Pallone d'Argento: 2013–14
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