Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi has reassured fans that he’ll be the same player he was once he returns from injury.
The Italian international picked up anterior cruciate ligament damage to his right knee in a game against Real Madrid a year ago.
He suffered exactly the same injury in April as he attempted to recover in time for Euro 2012.
“I’m going to be the player I was. This is just a stumbling block to overcome, but I’m strong mentally and I hope to return soon,” said a defiant Rossi to Villarreal’s official programme.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back as I’ll have to see what they say about my knee,” the 25-year-old continued.
“The most important thing will be to continue playing without any discomfort and bring some joy to the supporters.
“I’m still young and I’ve got much more to give in football. I want to recover 100 per cent and have no problems because the game is my life.”
As part of his fight for full fitness, the former Parma attacker is set for more surgery at a Colorado clinic on Wednesday.
“It’s a key moment for me because it’s the second operation,” he added. “I want to be out there on the pitch and now it all starts again for me.
“It’s been a very lengthy injury and to be honest the time has gone really slowly, but it’s what I expected and I have to be calm about it, be positive, so I can prepare myself for what is to come in the next six months.
“I’m now more or less halfway through the recovery process but the past is the past. I don’t want to think of what has gone before but of the future and getting back playing again as soon as possible.
“I prefer to think about working hard and counting down the days until my return. Every day is a day less until I’m back on the pitch.”
Rossi isn’t expected to return to action until 2013 and there is some uncertainty over his future after Villarreal were relegated last season.
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