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A canticle for Giuseppe

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Pepito is gone. Long live Pepito.

ACF Fiorentina v KKS Lech Poznan - UEFA Europa League
We’ll never stop loving you.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Giuseppe Rossi will be a free agent in three weeks. We know that. Duh. We’ve known for more than a year that he wasn’t really part of the Fiorentina future and thus wouldn’t be receiving a contract extension, what with the injuries and the loan moves to Spain and the comments of his agent and the injuries. And the injuries.

But it’s still difficult to imagine that he’s not walking back in that door to rescue us whenever we need it. Even the most cynical of fans could be forgiven for harboring, in their heart of hearts, the slim hope that Pepito would recapture his world-beating form, develop titanium knee ligaments, and triumphantly return to Florence to lead the team to the Scudetto on the back of a capocannoniere season.

Instead, he’ll depart from Florence the same way he arrived: with a tear to his cruciate ligament and a world of uncertainty on his shoulders. He says he wants to keep playing in Europe, preferably in Spain or Italy, but nobody’s come calling yet. It’s possible that nobody will, although word out of the US is that several MLS clubs are monitoring his latest rehab. But he’s had so many knee injuries and probably won’t be fully recovered from this one until he’s 31.

That’s not the Rossi we want to remember, though. The Rossi we want to remember was beautiful and deadly and precise, an aimless little ripple who could turn into a divinely-guided tsunami before you could blink, a smiling little assassin who would look you dead in the eye and stab you in the heart without thinking twice.

Yes, yes, his final numbers in purple don’t stack up with some of the all-time Viola greats. He only played 42 games in the purple shirt, although he scored 19 goals and set up 8 others in that span. Those 19 goals are as many as, say, Mario Santana, much less Adrian Mutu or Luca Toni. But those goals were, as they say, extra. So let’s go back over them.

We’ll start with his debut goal for Fiorentina, which came against Catania in the season opener back in 2013.

Or how about this peach of a curler against Sampdoria later that year?

Or maybe you’re hungry for a delicious chip, which is on display here. Bonus points for assisting the Borja Valero goal just before.

What was that? You’re saying I might have missed something? Something like this little guy here?

Hell yeah buddy hell yeah that’s the good stuff.

And on that note, we bid you farewell, Pepito. You weren’t ever allowed to become the star you should have been, but that doesn’t matter to us.