By RYAN TOLMICH
Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi has been left off of Italy’s 23-man roster for the 2014 World Cup.
The New Jersey-native was in the process of returning from a right knee injury that kept him out from January until early May. Rossi played 71 minutes during the Azzurri’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland Saturday, but apparently failed to make enough of an impact. Concerns over his fitness continued after Saturday’s performance, leading to manager Cesare Prandelli’s choice to go with Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne in Rossi’s stead.
Prior to his injury, Rossi lead Italy’s Serie A with 14 goals in 17 matches.
Rossi’s 2014 World Cup exclusion is the latest blow to the 27-year-old’s dream of appearing for Italy on the biggest stage.
The forward was among then-head coach Marcelo Lippi’s final cuts for the 2010 tournament in a decision the Italian coach has since admitted was a mistake. Rossi will now have to wait for the 2018 tournament, which will come a few months after his 31st birthday.
Joining Rossi on Italy’s cut list are forward Mattia Destro, midfielder Romulo and fullbacks Manuel Pasqual and Christian Maggio. Midfielder Ricardo Montolivo will also miss the chance to go to Brazil after suffering a broken tibia in his left leg in Saturday’s friendly.
Here’s a closer look at Italy’s 23-man roster for the 2014 World Cup:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma).
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli).
How do you feel about Rossi’s exclusion? Is he one of Italy’s 23 best players?
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