On Wednesday evening, soccer and NBA stars took the pitch of Lower East Side Manhattan’s Sara D. Roosevelt Park for the 9th edition Steve Nash Foundation Showdown New York. One of those soccer stars was Italian National Team and Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi. In an Italian Football Daily exclusive, we caught up with the Teaneck, New Jersey native to chat football.
Giuseppe Rossi, recently of La Liga side Levante UD, played with several professional soccer players in the 9th edition Steve Nash Foundation Showdown in New York last night, including Asmir Begović (Chelsea FC), Salomon Kalou (Hertha BSC), Georgios Samaras (Rayo OKC), Landon Donovan (former Los Angeles Galaxy member), Massimo Gobbi (Chievo Verona) and Francesco Valiani (F.C. Bari).
After the post-match scrum settled, I caught up with North Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi to discuss his January loan move back to Spain. Here is how the interview transpired:
Q: When you moved from Fiorentina and back to Spain in January, why did you choose to leave Italy when you had other offers on the table?
“The truth is there weren’t many offers on the table and I just wanted to get out as soon as possible to get some playing time. Levante were the first team to come after me and I just wanted to go out and play. That was the choice I made.”
Q: Was the move motivation to get onto the Euro 2016 squad and get more playing time?
“Yes, that was one of the motives, to go out there, try to find ninety minutes each game which I did in the last four months; it worked out well. I was able to play and do what I wanted. Unfortunately, the call didn’t come so now I’m just enjoying my summer.”
Q: How did your first trial in Europe shape you as a player?
“I moved to Europe when I was 12 so it started very early; my formation as a soccer player. When I reached the professional level at seventeen, my mentality was already a European mentality. Therefore, moving when I was twelve helped me a lot.”
With the 2016/2017 Serie A season set to kick-off in August, Rossi will hope to secure a regular spot in Fiorentina’s Starting XI and return to sparkling form. Rossi spent the second half of last season on-loan at La Liga side Levante where he scored six goals and collected two assists in 17 league games. Should he light up the city of Florence next season, there is no reason why he shouldn’t receive a call from future Azzurri bench boss, Giampiero Ventura, to dawn the famous blue jersey once again.