When Sir Alex Ferguson decides to let a young player go, it's unlikely that they will ever reach the top. Guiseppe Rossi is still determined to buck that trend. With the latest on Twitter's favourite Italian American Spanish footballer, plus the rest of La Liga, here's Tim Hill.
It has taken Guiseppe Rossi a while. So far, he has battled for a place in the starting line-up at St. James Park; roomied with Gerard Pique (Zlatan Ibrahimovic wouldn’t mind that) and has been continuously lambasted by the soccer fans of a country with the population of 310 million. Finally though, he looks like he’s found his feet in the small town of Vila-real.
Ruud van Nistelrooy, who as an aside, was once rejected by Gordon Strachan when he was Coventry, took the New Jersey born American-Italian under his wing whilst at Manchester United. Even though his idol was Marco van Basten, the skill set he took from the striker from Oss is being put to full use this season.
This is not the first time that Giuseppe has been taking the plaudits however; when he signed for Villarreal in 2007, after a few games Marca brashly shouted “We are standing in front of one of the league’s great stars.” Gadzooks! That’s some praise. In fact, after his first season in La Liga, there were some serious reports about Alex Ferguson wanting to bring back the Italian striker.
This season though he’s added something else to his A-Game though, amidst the technical ability and fleet-footedness that makes Leo Messi look like Frank Sinclair of mid-90’s fame (okay, okay, a little OTT), he’s pursued a Striker’s animalism for goals. In the nine games this season, the kid Manchester United fans used to call ‘Joe Red’ – a terrible nickname that makes him sound like a rejected kids TV character - has scored six goals and has linked up so well with Nilmar that before each game the referee has to check that there isn’t an umbilical cord connecting the two.
It is this understanding with the Brazilian that has catapulted the Valencian side up to third place with the deadly duo scoring eleven of Villarreal’s seventeen goals. There was a minor hiccup though this week as they drew away to Sporting Gijon – a very lucky draw at that – the 94th minute penalty came from what seemed to be a rugby lineout in the Gijon box; players were being lifted up, people were on the deck, it all resembled the Omaha Beach Landing. Rossi, like his mentor at Manchester United would do, calmly disposed of the penalty.
You should have seen the look on my face when I saw that Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals this weekend. With a face resembling a soggy omelette – all patchy and wrinkly – I knew that I’d have to commit a few words to him.
Yes, he did it again; he scored two more goals in a 3-1 away win at the Alicante-based Hercules side. David Trezeguet scored with a trademark goal off his noggin’ after four minutes to put Hercules one-up; the Madridistas had to wait until the 52nd minute to see an equalising goal courtesy of Angel di Maria after Karim Benzema thwacked it towards the keeper from 35 yards. He spilled it like a sloshed housewife into the patch of the increasingly impressive Argentinean. Ronaldo was then handed two goals on a paella dish where all he had to do was swing his leopard printed boots at the ball. I’m sure everyone knows these statistics anyway but they’re worth another read – Cristiano Ronaldo has 38 goals in 38 league games.
Leo Messi, an altogether more agreeable type of guy, also has 61 goals his last 61 games. It is these two players that will depressingly decide where the La Liga title goes this season I feel. Now we’re all over that inevitable and predictable bombshell, Barcelona produced an utterly stupendous performance against Sevilla where Gregory Manzano’s side looked downtrodden and lost; like they didn’t actually know they were meant to be playing Barcelona on Saturday night.
David Villa scored a wonderful goal skipping in from the right, cutting inside yet again so he was perpendicular with the by-line before lifting and simultaneously curling a shot into the far top corner. See, I told you he’d come good. Messi also scored another delicious goal, you know the one where he runs a lot, runs some more, scares a few defenders, then, from a bit of a way out, crashes it past the goalkeeper? Yeah, it was that one.
Always breaking the mould, that is our motto. Instead of talking about things that happened on the pitch this weekend, have some news that will transcend the grassy knolls of the patchy turf of the Spanish league and delve into some delicious mid-week news. It’s big news too. Manuel Pellegrini, former manager of Real Madrid and Villarreal has returned to La Liga – to struggling Malaga. Sorry Liverpool fans, but the wanted man has now left the dole office to join the only Sheikh-owned team in Spain. Malaga, who are floundering in 18th position, after conceding easily the most goals in the League (21, if you must know) threw the Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira out of the city after ten games in charge. Pellegrini’s first role is to stop them being so desperately poor at La Rosaleda.
The Spanish Classified
Valencia 1 – Zaragoza 1
Hercules 1 – Real Madrid 3
Barcelona 5 – Sevilla 0
Malaga 1 – Real Sociedad 2
Deportivo La Coruna 3 – Espanyol 0
Racing Santander 4 – Osasuna 1
Sporting Gijon 1 – Villarreal 1
Athletic Bilbao 3 – Getafe 0
Atletico Madrid 1 – Almeria 1
Real Mallorca 2 – Levante 1
C. Ronaldo, Real Madrid – 11
Lionel Messi, Barcelona – 7
Fernando Llorente, Athletic Bilbao – 6
Giuseppe Rossi, Villarreal – 6
Gonzalo Higuain, Real Madrid - 5
Tim writes regularly for IBWM but if you would like to read more from him, please visit his very fine blog.