Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi is part of Italy’s 2014 World Cup plans, boss Cesare Prandelli has confirmed.
The forward, signed from Villarreal in January, hasn’t played since damaging knee ligaments in a game against Real Madrid in October 2011.
Now two operations later, the former Parma and Manchester United man is thought to be just weeks away from returning to competitive action.
“Rossi is an unfortunate champion,” Prandelli told the Guerin Sportivo. “He is a talent who is ready to become world class.
“I’m convinced that he will come back better and more motivated than he was before. He has a strong morality in him.
“He was a first-team starter in my Italian side – and that is not just any team. I’m counting on him for the World Cup.”
The 26-year-old has scored six goals in 27 caps for his country. His last appearance was in a 1-1 draw with Serbia on 7 October, 2011.