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Real Salt Lake sign former Man Utd & Italy striker Rossi

The 33-year-old forward will play in the country of his birth for the first time following a long career in the top European leagues

Real Salt Lake have announced the signing of Giuseppe Rossi in something of a homecoming for the United States-born former Italy international.

It is the first time the 33-year-old has played in MLS in a career that has taken in spells in England, Spain and Italy since announcing himself at Manchester United in 2004.

The free agent striker last played for Genoa in 2018, where he failed a drug test and was given a one-year ban, subsequently downgraded to a warning.

He has trained with former clubs United and Villarreal since then while taking in a trial at Los Angeles FC, but it is in Utah where he willl restart his career.

“It feels great to now be a part of Real Salt Lake,” Rossi said.

“I can’t wait to step onto the pitch and help RSL achieve all the goals we’ve set this year. For me, MLS has been growing every year and has produced an exciting product.

“I’m lucky enough to have RSL be my first contact in the league during this process.

“The club’s respect and kindness towards me is something I appreciate immensely. I can’t wait to see and meet the fans and immerse myself in the RSL culture.

“Along with the rest of the team, I can’t wait to begin this season and enjoy the journey together.”

The team made the announcement with a cheeky tweet on Thursday.

RSL head coach Freddy Juarez was keen to stress the impact a player of Rossi’s talent and experience could bring to the club, on and off the pitch.

“It’s amazing to have a player of his skills in and around the guys,” Juarez said. 

“It’s a guy that can change the game at any given moment and he’s seen it all and done it all so he gives the team confidence.

“Beyond his skills, he takes the time to talk and spend time with the young guys.  It goes a long way when your peers can lead you and hold high standards.”

Rossi’s new club made the MLS playoffs last year, but were eliminated at the semi-final stage for the second consecutive season.

They open their 2020 campaign on Sunday at Orlando City before their first home match against New York Red Bulls on March 7.

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