SANDY, Utah (AP) — Forward Giuseppe Rossi signed Thursday with Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, 21 months after his last competitive match.
The 33-year-old from Clifton, New Jersey, had spent his entire professional career in Europe after moving when he was 12 to join Parma’s youth academy. He has been derailed by five major knee injuries.
Rossi played for Manchester United (2004-06), Newcastle (2006), Parma (2007), Villarreal (2007-12), Fiorentina (2013-17), Levante (2016), Celta Vigo (2016-17) and Genoa (2017-18).
His career was interrupted when he tore his right ACL against Real Madrid on Oct. 26, 2011, then re-tore the ligament during training on April 13, 2012. He returned with Fiorentina in May 2013 on the final day of the season and led Serie A with 14 goals in 17 matches when he sprained the medial collateral ligament in the knee against Livorno on Feb. 5, 2014.
Rossi was sidelined until the Italian Cup final in May, then damaged knee cartilage in August and was out for another year. While playing for Celta Vigo, he tore his left ACL against Eibar on April 9, 2017, and was sidelined until December, when he made his debut for Genoa.
He tested positive in May 2018 for an eye-pressure medication that is on the banned list. In October, he drew a warning rather than a one-year suspension because his use was found to be unintentional, according to his lawyer. Rossi took more than a year before signing with MLS.
Of Italian heritage, Rossi chose to play for the Azzurri rather than the United States and scored seven goals in 30 appearances. He also won the golden boot with four goals at the 2008 Olympics, a tournament limited mostly to players under 23.