One could not have asked for a better start to the season for Giuseppe Rossi as he was leading Serie A with 14 goals scored, and was a major catalyst in Fiorentina being tied for the third and final Champions League spot with Napoli. His fine form was sure to help him find his way to the 23-man squad Cesare Prandelli would name to represent Italy at the 2014 World Cup.
Yet on Sunday, all of those good vibes came crashing down as Rossi suffer an injury to his right knee after Livorno defender Leandro Rinauldo committed a cheap foul by spiking it. This is same right knee which has seen two ligament tears that shortened Rossi’s 2011-12 season and saw him miss the entire 2012-13 season. As he laid on the ground, it appeared that he would be a cruel victim of fate.
Luckily for Rossi, his injury was not as severe as first thought and with that, his World Cup opportunity remains in tact. It would have been devastating news for him and for the Azzurri’s chances at success in Brazil, but the team should be unaffected by the 6-7 weeks that Rossi will now spend off the field.
When Prandelli became the Azzurri coach back in the summer of 2010, he made it be known he dreamed of fielding Rossi alongside Mario Balotelli as his starting forwards in a World Cup game. It’s hard not to see why as their skill sets complement each other, while giving Prandelli the option of employing a number of different formations ranging from 4-3-3 to 4-3-1-2.
Now, Prandelli will still be able to count on an in-form striker come tournament time. If Rossi would have been lost, Prandelli would have had to hope that Balotelli picks up his play for a struggling AC Milan and that Mattia Destro continues to improve and round into form for AS Roma. The coach would have potentially had to take a gamble on Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini as well.
Rossi is a player who is genuinely liked, respected and gets along with his teammates. Compared to his immense talents, its a small detail that only highlights what the loss of Rossi would have represented for Prandelli and Italy.