Giuseppe Rossi out to prove fitness
Fiorentina's Giuseppe Rossi has his sights firmly set on a place in Italy's World Cup squad after scoring his first goal in almost five months on Tuesday.
Rossi's 15th goal of the season -- in a 4-3 defeat to Sassuolo -- has boosted his chances of convincing Italy coach Cesare Prandelli of including him in the squad he names later this month, and the 27-year-old is keen to prove himself in the final two games of the season to end an injury-hit campaign on a high note.
"If I'm going to represent my country, then I need to prove that I'm fit and that I can give the Azzurri a hand," Rossi said in a news conference in Florence. "I am thinking about Prandelli calling me up, but first I have a lot still to do with Fiorentina, like winning next Sunday against Livorno and consolidating fourth place before finishing the season well against Torino."
Nevertheless, Rossi admits he is not even contemplating that call from Prandelli not arriving.
"I always think positively," he said. "The World Cup is a dream and I've not even considered the possibility of not going to Brazil. I just have to do well in games and in training. These have been some truly difficult years, but with a lot of hard work and the help of [physiotherapist] Luke Bongiorno, the support of my family and of the team, I'm feeling good now.
"My knee is fine. Maybe I don't have 90 minutes in my legs yet, but I know this is something I can still improve."
His coach at Fiorentina, Vincenzo Montella, is in no doubt that Rossi would be able to do a job for Italy even in the condition he is currently in.
Speaking at the same news conference, he said: "He's an extraordinary player, even when he is not in top condition. He's got that special edge that only world class players have and he can give that little bit extra. We all hope he goes."