But the American-born Italian is back on the field and hopes to score both personal and team goals during the final weeks of the season, according to Goal.com.
Villarreal was trailing Real Madrid 3-0, when Rossi's knee popped on Oct. 26, 2011. He suffered a cruciate ligament injury that has kept him out of action for nearly six months.
"I'm feeling better physically, Rossi said. "It's been about five months that I've been out, so therefore I'm slowly getting back into shape.
"Mentally it's been tough because I'm used to playing week in, week out. So it's been difficult. I've had a lot of support from my club, my team-mates and from my family. They helped a lot with that."
As one of the few world-class players on the roster, Rossi's absence has seen the "Yellow Submarine" search aimlessly for goals and points in the La Liga standings. The club sits perilously close to the relegation zone — currently 17th in the standings — with seven games left to play. It is a far cry from the heady days of 2006, when Villarreal was a missed penalty-kick away from reaching the UEFA Champions League final.
Rossi's return can help save the club from the drop. His goal scoring record in Spanish soccer is impressive (82 goals in 192 games in all competitions), and his all-around ability in the attacking third of the field makes his teammates better players as well.
Six weeks of solid play (and a few goals to boot) can put the 25-year-old into contention for a spot on Italy's 23-man squad for this summer's European Championship. The Azzuri open the tournament on June 10 against defending champion Spain, giving Rossi less than two months to shake off a long-term injury and impress Italy boss Cesare Prandelli.
Rossi's future beyond this summer is not entirely clear. He was one of Europe's most sought-after forwards during last summer's transfer window, but a move never materialized. Things could be different in 2012. Villarreal will not play in either of next season's continental competitions, and it's hard to see a player of Rossi's stature sticking with the club during a rebuilding phase.
Rossi neither ruled out a move away from the club, nor committed himself to staying in the Spanish coastal town.
"You never know what's going to happen in your career," he said. "One day you're here, one day you're somewhere else."
"Obviously, it's an idea which is nice because I think many players would like to play in the best leagues in the world. That's La Liga; that's the Premier League, and that's Serie A. Like I said, you never know what's going to happen in football."
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/bob.sor
Powered by WordPress.com VIP