In an interview with an Italian radio station, Andrea Pastorello, the agent of striker Giuseppe Rossi, admitted the player might have made a mistake in choosing to represent Italy over the United States. Rossi, 29, was born in New Jersey to Italian parents and represented Italy throughout his youth career.
“The national team and Rossi? It’s a story that repeats itself, said Pastorello. “In hindsight, going back to when he chose between representing Italy or the USA, we should have chosen the USA.”
After beginning his career with local New Jersey club, Clifton Mustangs, Rossi joined the youth team at Italian side Parma as a 12-year-old. While a subsequent move to Manchester United at age 17 failed to see him break into the first team, Rossi soon established himself at club level playing with La Liga side Villarreal.
In 2008, despite strong interest from the country of his birth, Rossi choose to represent Italy and went on to play in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the Confederations Cup in South Africa the following year. However, despite making the provisional squad list for both tournaments, he failed to make the final 23-man Italian squad for both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Rossi has played for Italy 30 times and scored seven goals in an Azzurri jersey, but has never really looked to be in contention for a place in Antonio Conte’s squad for Euro 2016, which gets underway on June 10.
Part of the reason Rossi has missed out at international level is due to the injuries that have plagued the striker throughout his career. But with the USMNT still struggling to find a long-term alternative to the inconsistent Jozy Altidore, Rossi would undoubtedly had more chances at international level had he chosen the U.S. over Italy; something that might be on the striker’s mind as the United States gears up to play the Copa American Centenario on home soil this summer.
Rossi, who is still on the books at Serie A side Fiorentina, spent last season on loan with Levante, scoring six goals in 17 appearances in a season that saw the now-former La Liga outfit relegated to Spain’s Segunda Division.
While it is unlikely that Rossi will remain at Levante, it’s still not yet clear where he will be playing next season.
“I don’t think Levante will sign Rossi permanently,” said Pastorello. “It’s not the kind of transfer a second-division side can make. As for Fiorentina, I can’t exclude anything. We need to see what kind of tactics the coach is going to use and see if Rossi is suited to them.”
Meanwhile, as Rossi and his agent plot the striker’s next move, the Italian national team and the USMNT will both embark on major tournaments this summer.
Watch the Copa America, which gets underway this Friday, June 3 on Fox and FS1.
Euro 2016 kicks off a week later on June 10 and matches will be shown across the ESPN family of networks.