How Do You Say Schadenfreude In Italian: NJ-Born Rossi Left Off Azzurri WC Roster

It's no secret that the United States isn't exactly a powerhouse in the world of international football, but the talent inside the U.S. men's national team pool has grown to the point where many players are earning their keep at top international club levels, some potentially on their way to becoming bona fide international stars. ↵

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↵Giuseppe Rossi could have been one of those players. Rossi is from Teaneck, N.J., just a free kick over the bridge from New York City. But Rossi – whose father and mother emigrated from Italy to the New York area – moved to Italy as a lad to ply his trade at the youth level for Parma. In 2004, his youth contract was purchased by Manchester United and he appeared in a few matches with the senior club before getting loaned out to Newcastle United and then back to Parma. In 2007, Rossi was sold to Villarreal, where he has been ever since. ↵

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↵Who can blame the kid for leaving the U.S.? If you had a chance to play at the international level for the United States or for Italy, where would you choose? If you were invited – at age 19 – to take part in the pre-World Cup training with the country in which you were born (the United States), wouldn't you decline if you thought your future was with one of the powerhouse countries in the world? Rossi picked Italy then, despite not receiving a similar invite in 2006 from the Azzurri – a team that would go on to win that 2006 World Cup – and has stayed with Italy ever since, even scoring against the United States twice in the Confederations Cup. ↵

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↵With the United States finally getting to the level of international respectability, it's difficult to see a player of Rossi's caliber go elsewhere, circumstances of his decision be damned. On a base level, what we see is simple: talented soccer player from New Jersey with Italian parents and an Italian name spurned his country to play for the homeland of his parents. And that makes him a traitor, doesn't it? ↵

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↵Well, it seems that the American fans are getting the last laugh, at least in 2010, as Italian manager Marcelo Lippi did not include the import on his final 23 for the World Cup. How do you translate schadenfreude into Italian? ↵

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↵⇥Former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi was one of five players left out as Italy manager Marcelo Lippi named his final 23-man World Cup squad. ↵⇥

↵⇥Rossi, now at Villarreal, was the only non-Italian based player in the initial squad and was expected to make the cut. ↵⇥

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↵The irony of this situation is obviously the fact that Rossi has played for a team in Spain and was the only non-Italian league player selected for camp. Did that have something to do with him being left off the roster, or did Lippi simply have other names in mind for his scoring punch – names, by the way, that do no include Franscesco Totti or Luca Toni. Let's allow the American soccer fan to revel in the notion that Rossi was possibly left off the Italian roster because, despite everything he's done to spurn his U.S. roots and prove himself to be Italian – in football parlance at least – he just wasn't Italian enough. ↵

↵Let's not forget that Rossi would be a bona fide star for the United States team and would likely supplant any starter on the roster had he chosen to play for the country in which he was born and raised. While American fans can be upset with Rossi's decision, the likes of Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley and Herculez Gomez are sure as heck OK with it. ↵

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↵There was talk in the U.S. soccer press box last weekend that more should be written about Jose Torres, the young USMNT midfielder who could have chosen to play for Mexico but decided instead to try and make a name for himself with the American squad. Choosing the Americans over a more traditional soccer-rabid country – albeit one the Americans have readily defeated – is a huge step for soccer in the States. Keeping the likes of Rossi (or at least the next incarnate with a similar story) will be the next big step. ↵

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↵More piling on from Major League Soccer Talk: ↵

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↵⇥The best American striker – and a guaranteed starter against England on June 12 – was not destined to be Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies or (certainly) Robbie Findley. The best American striker is New Jersey-born, rap-music loving, Playstation-playing Giuseppe Rossi. Unfortunately, four years ago Rossi turned down the opportunity to play with the US to make himself available for Italy … ↵⇥

↵⇥“Off the field, I have always felt American. On the field I’ve always felt Italian,” Rossi told ESPN last month. I guess he is set for a very American summer as he will not be seen on a soccer pitch for the next couple of months. ↵⇥

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↵⇥All gloating aside, this is bad news for Rossi. Coming off a good year for Villarreal (a career-high 17 goals in 46 appearances), Rossi is out of contract and free to go to any team. A solid World Cup appearance would have increased his demand and fattened his next contract. However, being cut from the Italian team will not help his future plans. ↵⇥

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↵Just last week, that site's sister site, Serie A Talk, tried to convince readers that Americans should root for Rossi as his story – and the story of his parents – is the true American dream. Now that he'll be sitting at home for a month (maybe he rents a house down the Jersey Shore) one might suggest Rossi should be rooting for the Americans.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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