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DECISION TIME! – Why Giuseppe Rossi faces the biggest moment of his career. | El Centrocampista
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El Centrocampista

DECISION TIME! – Why Giuseppe Rossi faces the biggest moment of his career.

By Sam Hughes

Villarreal’s diminutive forward Giuseppi Rossi experienced what many would consider his ‘breakthrough’ season last year.
He has always been seen as a player of fantastic ability, of course, but there seemed to be an extra edge to the Italian’s game last term. His natural composure on the ball was used to full effect, his vision and awareness exposed defences and – maybe most importantly – more goals.
For a deep-lying forward, his record in front of goal for Villarreal has been fairly impressive – increasing each year from 13 goals to 15 then 17 in all competitions.
He ended the 10/11 campaign, however, with a total of 32 goals. With forwards ultimately being judged on goals, his record haul has not done him any harm when it comes to being recognised by the traditional European powerhouses. Add to that his new found confidence and ability to impose himself consistently during games and you have a forward that looks like he is about to fulfill his potential.
The Yellow Submarine, though, are now left wondering whether they will be the club that benefits.

Villarreal’s football philosophy is based upon a fluid, attacking style using their technically gifted players to keep possession and start attacks. This is a perfect fit for Rossi, the patient build up play allows him to get involved when dropping deep to receive the ball and also in front of goal to show his natural finishing ability. He has an enthusiastic, strong-willed manager in Juan Garrido, who has helped him flourish in arguably the best strike partnership in La Liga alongside Nilmar.
Barcelona and Real Madrid aside, the Italian international is playing in the most entertaining side in La Liga. Their 4th place finish has guaranteed another opportunity in the Champions League but will the team be able to rise to the next level like Rossi has individually?
If they are unable to do so then you cannot blame the forward if he does choose to speak to other clubs.

The US-born Rossi faces a tough decision

Of all the clubs who were reportedly interested, on the face of it, Barcelona is the next logical step. Villarreal’s playing style is extremely similar to the ‘tika-taka’, pass and move style of the Spanish giants. Rossi could slot into a side that play the same way but, essentially, with better players around him, which would only be a positive. However, with the imminent arrival of Alexis Sanchez and possibly Cesc Fabregas, it seems the interest from the Catalan club has waned.
Does Rossi stay at El Madrigal for another year and hope a move to Nou Camp materialises next year? It would be a risky option to take. Next year could be less fruitful and interest may well be non-existent come next summer. If an opportunity of a big move becomes apparent, it is likely that Rossi will ride on the wave of an extremely successful year straight into a top side’s starting line-up. But, if Barcelona are now out of the running, then where does he go?

Juventus are the latest side to show a real interest. The Old Lady – and Italian clubs in general – are beginning to flex their financial muscles once more in the transfer market after a few years of belt tightening. Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Marco Motta, Simone Pepe and Stephane Lichtsteiner have all been added to the side at a cost of over €47 million, with the handy free transfers of Andrea Pirlo and Reto Ziegler. After these deals, Juventus are desperate to land a marquee signing that will rejuvenate the club and put out a signal of intent to the rest of Europe. The Italians may well want Rossi but does he want to play for them?

Taking a step back and examining the situation, you would have to say that moving from Villarreal to Italy for a team not even in Europe next season does not seem like an appealing move. Certainly not in the way that a move to Barcelona, the European champions, would have been. However, European football is not the only factor that the move is based upon. Juventus can genuinely claim that they are building a very good side once more. They are a side that, with another couple of signings, could mount a serious challenge for Serie A. The draw of a league title in the country he plays international football for could force the issue for a move to Juventus. Also, will the appeal of replacing the legend that is Alessandro Del Piero prove too strong? Not only that, but Rossi will want to become the main man for the Azzurri.

There is no escaping the fact that, should he join Juventus and perform as he has for Villarreal, then he will gain far more recognition than he does now. After all, he doesn’t want a repeat of the 2010 World Cup when he was in the 28-man provisional squad but failed to make the cut for the final 23 that went to South Africa. It has to be said that since Marcelo Lippi’s departure as the national team’s coach, Rossi has been favoured much more by his replacement – Cesare Prandelli. He was even named as captain for a friendly in November against Romania which highlights the faith shown in him.

As it stands currently, Juventus are yet to meet the valuation set by Villarreal which is believed to be around €30-35 million. Giuseppi Rossi’s agent, Federico Pastorello, has spoken to the Italian press claiming that both clubs are in talks over the price. If true, this shows that Villarreal are willing to sell but only at the right price. Where that leaves the Spanish club is yet to be determined but should Rossi leave then there will be a big gap in what is a truly talented team.
Ultimately it is down to what Rossi believes is best for his career. Does he continue his fine form with a team that evidently suits his style but, realistically, has no chance of winning La Liga? Or does he join a revitalised Juventus, challenge for the Serie A and gain real recognition in his adopted homeland?

If he makes decisions as well as he does on the pitch then he is sure to make the right one as he hits a crossroad in his career.




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