The former Manchester United and Villarreal striker suffered back-to-back anterior cruciate ligament injuries to his right knee during his time in Spain, keeping him on the sidelines for well over a year.
Over six years with El Submarino Amarillo Rossi experienced extreme highs and lows; he spearheaded Villarreal’s attack alongside Nilmar in exciting European campaigns, only to suffer the dejection of serious injury, and watch on as his side were relegated from La Liga.
Despite the fact that Rossi scored 82 goals in all competitions during his time in Spain, the player was quite rightly deemed as a real risk for potential suitors after such a long layoff.
When Fiorentina announced the attacker’s signature on January 4 this year, they were taking a leap of faith. Their new €10 million signing’s last competitive fixture had been on October 27, 2011, some 15 months beforehand, and he still had the guts of half-a-year’s rehabilitation to undertake in his quest for fitness.
However, the Viola’s gamble seems to have well and truly paid off. Rossi made his debut for the club on the final day of last season in a victory over Pescara, and managed a proper pre-season ahead of this campaign.
His first goal for Fiorentina came on the opening day of this term in the side’s 2-1 win over Catania; his previous strike had been some 23 months before. However, Rossi has looked back to his mercurial best this season and has been a real star for Vincenzo Montella’s men.
Twelve goals in 14 Serie A outings make him the Italian top flight’s leading goalscorer. The highlight of his scintillating start to life in Florence came in a 4-2 win over champions Juventus in October, with Rossi netting a hat-trick in 14 second-half minutes to lead his side to victory after they had trailed 2-0 at the interval.
Fiorentina currently sit in fifth place in Serie A, four points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots. The Stadio Artemio Franchi fans will be relishing the opportunity to see Rossi paired in attack with fellow new signing, Mario Gómez, who looks set to return from injury in the near future.
Rossi has made a return to the Italian national scene also, and scored in his most recent appearance; a 2-2 friendly draw with Nigeria. His return to form and fitness will be a real boost to the Azzurri ahead of next summer’s World Cup, with Rossi given the chance to hit the heights with his country after suffering such devastating lows over the last 18 months.
Fiorentina’s faith in Rossi’s resolve to recover sees them seemingly having the last laugh, while Italy are set to benefit as a result. Having the star back to his best took a long time coming.