Rossi inspired by Cazorla as former Villarreal star targets return to elite football

By Sports Desk November 15, 2019

Giuseppe Rossi has hailed Santi Cazorla as an "inspiration" as the former Villarreal and Manchester United striker targets a return to elite-level football.

Rossi, 32, is back training with his old club Villarreal six years after leaving Spain to join Serie A side Fiorentina.

The 30-cap Italy international has been a free agent since he left Genoa at the end of 2017-18, having escaped a ban after testing positive for dorzolamide - a banned substance commonly found in eye drops that Rossi and his legal team insisted was consumed accidentally.

Since then, he has spent time training with United and recently returned to Villarreal to try to build up match fitness, with a view to playing at the highest level again.

Rossi's career has been blighted by serious knee injuries, but he enjoyed his most productive spell with Villarreal, scoring 82 times to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

Cazorla has enjoyed a renaissance since returning to Villarreal last year after an Achilles infection left him fearing he may never walk again, and Rossi hopes to emulate his former team-mate's comeback.

"When we were playing years ago, we never thought we would have these situations in our careers. But it happens, it's all part of the sport, right?" Rossi told Omnisport, courtesy of LaLiga.

"It's how you come back, it's the fight that you put into the recovery, wanting to get back to your levels of before. I've been down, and I came back up; I've been down again, and I've always come back up.

"It's the same thing with Santi. He's back to playing at these high levels, playing with the national team also, so he's definitely an inspiration to me, also to all the young players and the players that are on this team.

"It's crazy, the parallels that we have, so of course it's always great to see him back, to see him playing at this level."

Like Cazorla, Rossi is determined not to allow his football career to be halted early by injuries, even though he has not played a competitive match since May last year.

"It's a big psychological thing when you get injured," he said. "Are you able to be patient, are you able to learn, are you able to put in the work and the time to get back to certain playing styles and certain levels?

"Sometimes, it's hard. Sometimes, people give up. We've seen that in the past, not only in football but in other sports. But that's not the case with me. It's something I'll never do. I love this game too much, I work too hard, I've sacrificed too much. I cannot give up on this sport."

Rossi has been made to feel at home since coming back to Villarreal, saying: "It feels great. It's a place where I grew up as a player; it's a place where I grew up as a man.

"I had five beautiful years with them, we accomplished a lot together, and it's just great being back here, seeing people and just having fun on the pitch again.

"Each day, I'm getting more match fit, getting used to the pace. I'm just trying to get fit, trying to show that I'm ready to play at whatever level, and just continue to have fun. I'm still young, I'm still hungry. I've done a lot in this sport and I'm very happy, but I'm still hungry, I still want more. I still want to show that I can come back and play at these levels."

It remains to be seen whether Rossi will get the chance to play in LaLiga once more, but he still considers Spain's top flight to be the pinnacle.

"For me, LaLiga is the essence of football," he added. "It's fun watching the technical ability of a player. It's very attacking, there's a lot more space, therefore there's much more excitement in games.

"Four, five years, ago, they thought LaLiga was only a two-team league. Today, you have six, seven teams all mixed up. It's exciting."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Man City to offer two players for Koulibaly, Liverpool won't pursue Thiago Rumour Has It: Man City to offer two players for Koulibaly, Liverpool won't pursue Thiago

    Manchester City are reportedly ready to give up two players in a deal for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

    Koulibaly, 29, has regularly been linked with a move from Naples, with several of Europe's biggest clubs apparently keen to land the centre-back.

    And City may know who they are ready to offer up as part of a deal.

     

    TOP STORY – MAN CITY PREPARED TO GIVE UP TWO PLAYERS FOR KOULIBALY

    Manchester City could use Nicolas Otamendi and Oleksandr Zinchenko in a deal for Napoli star Koulibaly, according to The Sun.

    The report says the Serie A club have already contacted City about Otamendi and Zinchenko.

    Napoli are said to want €100million for Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

    ROUND-UP

    - Liverpool have been repeatedly linked with a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara over recent weeks. However, ESPN reports the Premier League champions will not pursue a deal for the former Barcelona star.

    - Speculation around Eric Garcia's future continues. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Manchester City defender is motivated to return to Barcelona, but the Premier League club have offered the 19-year-old a bumper contract, with his current deal expiring in 2022.

    - Jonathan Ikone is seemingly attracting some interest. Le 10 Sport reports Chelsea and Inter are interested in the Lille forward. Ikone scored three goals and provided six assists in 28 Ligue 1 games in 2019-20.

    - Will Roma get a deal done for Chris Smalling? Gianluca Di Marzio says Roma are in negotiations with Manchester United to make the defender's move permanent. The report says Roma's offer of €3m (£2.7m) to extend the loan for a season before a €15m (£13.4m) offer to make the move permanent has been deemed too low.

    - Mesut Ozil wants to see out his contract at Arsenal, with his deal expiring in 2021. The Sun reports the attacker has told friends he will only consider playing in MLS or the Turkish Super Lig after he leaves Arsenal.

    - Paris Saint-Germain could be looking to strengthen while weakening one of their Ligue 1 rivals. Foot Mercato reports PSG are interested in Lyon and France defender Leo Dubois.

  • Zidane unsure if James will play for Real Madrid again Zidane unsure if James will play for Real Madrid again

    Zinedine Zidane is unsure if James Rodriguez will play for Real Madrid ever again.

    James, 28, has been linked with a move away from Madrid and was left out of the squad for Friday's 2-0 LaLiga win over Deportivo Alaves.

    It marked the second straight game in which the Colombia international has not been in the squad.

    Asked if James would play for Madrid again, Zidane told a news conference: "I don't know."

    James arrived at Madrid from Monaco in 2014, but spent the previous two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich.

    He has played just 14 games this campaign, scoring one goal.

  • Zidane hails 'phenomenal' Courtois after another clean sheet Zidane hails 'phenomenal' Courtois after another clean sheet

    Zinedine Zidane praised the "phenomenal" Thibaut Courtois after Real Madrid took another step towards the LaLiga title with a win over Deportivo Alaves.

    Madrid kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight game, recording a 2-0 win on Friday to move four points clear of rivals Barcelona with three games remaining.

    Zidane lauded Courtois, who made four saves in Madrid's win as Karim Benzema netted a penalty before Marco Asensio's second-half goal.

    "He has a very big influence. He is our goalkeeper, what he is doing every game is phenomenal," Madrid coach Zidane told a news conference, via AS.

    "It is a matter for everyone when it comes to defending … today, he [Courtois] has been good for us with two or three stops, and then the strength of the entire team.

    "We have to continue like this."

    Madrid scored a penalty for the third straight game, while the VAR was needed to award Asensio's goal after it was initially ruled out due to an offside decision against Benzema.

    As another clean sheet helped Madrid, Zidane said he was happy with his team, who are away to Granada on Monday.

    "I'm not worried because the important thing is to win matches," he said.

    "We didn't score four or five goals, but because there is an opponent who defends. We scored two goals, one very beautiful in play.

    "I am happy and calm with what we are doing."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.