Thursday August 14 2014
Rossi: Conte is a winner

Giuseppe Rossi has backed Antonio Conte as Italy’s next Coach, but says he has nothing to prove regarding his fitness.

The Fiorentina striker missed out on a place at the World Cup under Cesare Prandelli, with the CT implying that he was not ready for the tournament following a return from a knee injury.

For the 27-year-old, his summer since has been about moving on from the falling out.

“To begin with I just needed to get away, to find peace after the tension and frustration of the final training retreat with the national team,” Rossi has told the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I needed to have fun, be away from my normal life for a whole. I have been to the beach in the Bahamas with my family, then I came home and watched Italy’s games as well as those of the others.

“Obviously I felt sorry for my teammates and for all those who work for the team.

“And Prandelli? There is nothing more to say on this case.”

Reports continue to press that Antonio Conte will come in as Prandelli’s replacement.

“To me he seems to be a great candidate. Conte brings out the best from every player and he is a winner, and this is a very important thing.

“My mark on the next Azzurri? I hear it said every time I go back, but I have never felt it is ‘my’ national team.

“The Italian national team belongs to many, because it has history and talent. It is one of the most important teams in the world and no-one can say ‘it’s mine, I can put my mark on it’.

“For me I am always happy when I can be there and I think that the mix of old and new being created is positive for the future.

“Have I ever considered retirement? Never. It’s a thought that does not fit into my mentality. I’m not giving up.”

Rossi has suffered three serious knee injuries in recent years, however.

“I am not crystal, I know that to be 100 per cent I have to do specific work and train more than others, but I do not want to feel limited.

“I have had three serious injuries in the last few years, it is logical that there is something different in my joints and in the work that I do, but that does not mean that I cannot play 90 minutes or more than one match in a week, otherwise what would be the point to what I have done?

“If I could not play too often then I could not even aspire to return to the national team. No, I do not work for this, I work in order to do what every player does.”

Rossi was asked for his ambitions heading into next season.

“Would it be to prove that I am no different to the others? I would not say that. I want to achieve and maintain a good condition, but to show that I am not physically fragile is not my mission.

“Because if I score goals every Sunday, things change by themselves, it’s a kind of domino effect and the labels are removed by themselves.

“It is better to think about playing well, helping the team and scoring goals. The field speaks the truth and it will come out over time.

“Just be patient. Work and patience.”

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