As a 24-year-old, the sky was the limit for Italian American forward Giuseppe Rossi. Having come through the youth ranks at Parma and Manchester United, he was now flourishing in La Liga with Villarreal. In four seasons, he’d seen his goal totals gradually increase with the club: 13, 15, 17 and then a staggering 32 in the 2010-11 season.
What’s more, he’d become a fixture for the Italian national team, collecting 27 caps and six goals for the Azzurri over that period. Unfortunately for Rossi, the maturation process of one of the most promising young players on the planet would largely grind to a halt there.
On October 26, 2011, he suffered an ACL injury against Real Madrid that ruled him out for six months. When he returned to training in April of 2012, he suffered a reoccurrence of the injury and was ruled out for 10 more months.
After nearly two years on the sidelines, Rossi was transferred from Villarreal to Italy’s Fiorentina. In an incredible story of perseverance and determination, Rossi began to flourish with the Viola. He scored 16 goals in 21 Serie A matches in his first season back on the pitch and began to receive consideration for the Italian national team again.
But then, the nightmare of injury and the arduous process of recovery struck again when Livorno’s Leandro Rinaudo scythed through Rossi from behind, resulting in a sprain of his MCL.
Rossi, in the midst of his most prolific season yet, missed the next 26 games and spent 115 days out. Rossi returned to health before the start of the 2014-15 season but then injured his medial meniscus in training, forcing him to miss the entire campaign.
Last year, Rossi returned to action but was unable to rediscover his earlier form after four seasons beset by injury. He was loaned to Levante in La Liga, but his league totals across Italy and Spain amounted to six goals from 28 appearances.
This year, Rossi is at Celta Vigo on a one-year loan contract. Now aged 30 and having suffered and recovered from all of those major knee injuries, Rossi has been primarily used as a substitute. The pace is no longer there, but he still has an instinct for goals that makes you wonder what kind of career he would’ve had if it hadn't been beset by injury.
Rossi had registered less than 700 La Liga minutes and only one goal prior to Monday’s match against Las Palmas, but, given the start in this match, he scored a phenomenal hat trick in only 57 minutes.
— FanClubGiuseppeRossi (@FanClubGR49NY) April 3, 2017
It’s safe to say that many professionals would’ve given up their careers long ago if they’d had the same misfortune as Rossi. But it’s a testament to his character and his love of the game that he’s still able to conjure moments of magic like this.