Watching Giuseppe Rossi is exhausting for American soccer fans.
On the one hand, as witnessed in Villareal’s Champions League triumph against Danish side Odense FK on Tuesday, where the Teaneck, NJ native scored twice, Rossi has established himself as one of the game’s elite strikers. Last year he scored 32 times in all competitions, behind only Christiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi in Spain. And for American fans who have yet to see an American striker consistently score at that level, it instills a sense of pride and hope that in the future we might produce one again.
On the other hand, with every bit of skill, with every defender he dances around, and with every rocket left-footed finish, he reminds us how unlucky we are that he chose to play for Italy instead of the United States in international soccer.
It’s hard to deride him for his decision — he moved to his parents’ native Italy at the age of 12 to follow his dream of playing pro soccer and for the Azzurri. But the fact remains that we have to watch him score goal after goal after goal.
And every time he does, it’s so bittersweet it hurts.
In the end, I suggest that all of us American soccer fans accept his decision and love him all the same. We can be proud he is American without being angry at him for choosing to play for Italy.
After all, wasn’t it his decision to move to Italy at the age of 12 what got him to this point today? I’m pretty sure that given the opportunity, most of us would have made the same decision.
P.S. For those of you that missed the game, Villarreal’s Borja Valero pulled his own impression of a Zinedine Zidane head-butt. Enjoy.