FLORENCE, Italy — New signing Giuseppe Rossi is still recovering from long-term injury and isn’t ready yet to make his debut for Fiorentina, but the Italy forward is hoping to start playing again this season.
The United States-born Rossi was presented on Monday after joining from Villarreal in a four-and-a-half-year deal worth $2.9 million per season, plus bonuses.
Fiorentina reportedly paid a euro9.5 million ($12.45 million) transfer fee to Villarreal.
Rossi has been out for 14 months and has undergone three operations since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a game against Real Madrid in October, 2011.
"My recovery is going well, I just need a little more time," Rossi said, adding that he will continue to work with a physiotherapist in New York. "I want to be 100 per cent."
Rossi was a regular starter for Italy before his injury.
Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade said that Rossi’s contract includes a (euro)35 million ($45.6 million) exit clause.
"Fiorentina was the only team to come forward with facts, not just rumours," Rossi said.
Rossi had been with Villarreal since 2007 after starting his professional career with Manchester United, where he made 14 appearances during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
His only previous experience in Italy came with Parma, where he played on loan in the second half of the 2006-07 season, scoring nine goals in 19 appearances.
With Villarreal he scored 27 goals in 82 appearances.
"I’ve spent many years abroad and I’m happy to be back in Italy," Rossi said.
Rossi will join two other former Villarreal players already with Fiorentina, defender Gonzalo Rodriguez and midfielder Borja Valero.
"Fiorentina has a mix of young and experienced players that are playing the best football in Italy," Rossi said.
With his usual No. 22 taken by Adem Ljajic, Rossi said he will wear the No. 49 shirt in honour of his father, who was born in 1949 and died in February, 2010.