Giuseppe Rossi is happy to be “back home” in the Italy squad, but isn’t packing his suitcase for Brazil 2014 just yet.
The Fiorentina striker had been out of the Nazionale since snapping knee ligaments two years ago and earned a recall for the World Cup qualifiers against Denmark and Armenia.
“My journey towards full recovery is still continuing, but I’m happy to be back in the Nazionale. It feels like I’ve come back home,” he said in a Press conference.
“I hope this can be a new starting point for me. It’s an honour to represent Italy and there are many Italians in New Jersey who follow the Nazionale,” said the American-born ‘Pepito.’
“I spoke to Cesare Prandelli about my fitness levels and we all agree on the approach to take. I am happy to be here, especially after such a long time out.
“After two years on the sidelines, playing seven games in a short space of time like I did at Fiorentina was tough. The day of the game I never held back, though. We’ll see what happens now.
“This is a decisive season for me. I never thought about retiring. I always tried to think positive and focus on recovery. That is the mentality I keep to this day, because I want to improve day by day.
“I worked long and hard to be ready for the first day of the season. I believe in my qualities and when playing with teammates like mine at Fiorentina, it all becomes easier. This is why I’ve been able to play so well recently.”
The last time he played for Italy, Rossi was partnered with Antonio Cassano, but his new pairing will be with Mario Balotelli.
“Everyone knows his characteristics and that he is a great player, but I think I can play alongside any of the forwards in this squad. We’ll certainly have the chance to do well together.
“Am I the opposite of Balotelli? We don’t see it that way. We are friends, as we are with everyone in the side.
“This is not the moment to be thinking about the World Cup. I hope to reach that time of the year in good shape, but my objective right now is to do well in training for the Nazionale and for Fiorentina.
“Denmark are a strong side with elements of real quality. In the next few days we’ll watch footage of them to understand their strengths and weaknesses. It’s going to be tough.
“I really like Prandelli’s mentality, as he tries to achieve the victory through attack rather than defence.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!