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Fiorentina ace Rossi: I turned down USA for Italian dream

Giuseppe Rossi has revealed how he was approached by the USA national team back when he was a teenager.

The 27-year old Fiorentina striker was born in New Jersey to Italian immigrant parents before moving to Parma at the age of 12.

Rossi left Parma's youth academy to join Manchester United in 2004 and just a year later, was asked by then-US boss Bruce Arena if he wanted to pledge his allegiance to his country of birth.

The former Newcastle United and Villarreal attacker admitted it was humbling to be asked to play for America but decided to push forward with his career with Italy which has since seen him represent the Azzurri on 29 occasions.

"I've had dreams I wanted to come true since I was a kid. Thanks to my father and family and the work I've put in, I've been able to pursue them," he said in a Q&A for the New York Times.

"In 2005, when I was 18, Bruce Arena asked me to come to camp and train with the United States team in Scotland if I wanted to be part of it.

"It was flattering and amazing to get called up, but my dreams were to be a part of the Italian national team.

"It was how I was brought up. All my family, except me and my sister, were born in Italy."

Rossi, who has scored 14 goals in 18 outings for Fiorentina this season, does retain a love affair with the US though as he travels back across the Atlantic as often as he can.

"Every summer in the off-season. Also for five days during Christmas," he added.

"I get back to Jersey, my family is all in Jersey, and I like to stay out there more. Though I also have an apartment in Manhattan, which I use when I like to go out in the city and spend some time."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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