Giuseppe Rossi will not be heading to the World Cup this summer, as the American-born Italian international has yet again been left out at the final hurdle.
In 2010 Rossi was cut from the Italian roster by Marcel Lippi after making the initial 30-man squad and lighting has struck twice as the New Jersey native will again be sitting at home watching the biggest soccer tournament on the planet from afar.
Bemused. Bewildered. Disappointed.
Rossi is feeling a little aggrieved to have been left off the final 23-man squad this time around after he battled back from another serious knee injury in January. On Monday he said the following via Twitter after his recovery from injury following his red-hot start to the 2013-14 Serie A season proved to be not quite good enough for head coach Cesare Prandelli.
“Everyone is saying I’m out of shape: ask anyone the results of the tests from last week and from the match,” Rossi said. “You will be surprised. Challenges? Fear? What a laugh.”
Prandelli had been praising Rossi in the build up to their warm up game vs. Ireland at Craven Cottage on Saturday but has opted against taking him in the squad.
Now that 27-year-old forward has missed out on a third-straight major tournament for the Azzuri (he missed Euro 2012 after suffering yet another injury), this is a good time to ask if he should have played for the U.S. national team at international level.
There’s no doubt about it, looking at the strength of the USA’s roster up top right now, you’d have to think that a player who scored 16 goals in Serie A for Fiorentina this season would have made Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad. Rossi has his reasons for selecting the country of his family’s heritage over the country of his birth and the striker from Teaneck, NJ made that decision a long time ago.
However it’s hard not to think of ‘what could of been’ if you imagine Rossi playing for the USMNT. Yes, he moved to Italy at the age of 12 to play in Parma’s youth academy but he still has ties to the U.S. and could have become one of the greatest goalscorers in U.S. history. There is no doubt about that.
Many would argue that getting into the provisional 30-man squad for the Italian national team is harder than breaking into the USA’s final roster but at the end of the day, those 23 players from the U.S. are going to the World Cup. Rossi is not.
As harsh as that sounds, when you become a professional player (or just growing up as a kid playing the game) your dream is to play at the World Cup. If Rossi would’ve selected to play for the USA over Italy, he’d now be heading to this second-straight World Cup.
Instead he will be watching at home on TV, once again.