Saturday May 31 2014
‘Rossi and Baggio situations similar’

Giovanni Trapattoni says the debate over Giuseppe Rossi’s fitness reminds him of when he left Roberto Baggio out of his World Cup 2002 squad.

The 75-year-old ultimately decided against taking Baggio to Japan and South Korea after deeming that the Italian footballing icon had not made enough of a recovery from cruciate ligament damage to be selected.

12 years on, current Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli has a similar decision to make regarding Fiorentina striker Rossi, who missed almost the entire second half of the season for his club with a knee problem.

“Pepito’s story is quite similar to mine in terms of when I had to choose my World Cup squad for Korea,” Trapattoni told Sport Mediaset.

“I had the situation with Baggio, who was a very important player but had cruciate ligament damage.

“I wished that his recovery could speed up, but it couldn’t and so I had to go without Baggio. It was a decision that I was attacked for a little bit.

“It is a decision that Prandelli has to take very wisely. He needs to assess Rossi’s efficiency before taking him in the 23.”

The former Juventus, Milan and Inter boss also expressed his belief that Antonio Cassano has matured.

“I think Cassano has matured after having played for some very important teams like Roma, Real Madrid, Milan and Inter.

“I think Antonio has reflected and has decided that he can’t do anything other than get his head together. He needs to understand that this could be his last chance.”