Former Manchester United and Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi has given an exclusive interview to the Manchester Evening News ahead of the Europa League final in Gdansk.
A fixture he admits has torn his heart.
Rossi, 34, spent the first three years of his senior career at Old Trafford before joining Villarreal in a bid for regular first-team football. From his time with the Yellow Submarines of Villarreal, the Italian knows what winning the Europa League would mean for the club – being their first major trophy in their 98-year history.
The problem is he loves United and considers himself a Red. For someone who managed just 14 appearances for the club, with tons of promise and an unlucky injury record, the bond with his former club remains strong.
Both clubs invited Rossi back to train with them two years ago as he sought to keep fit and prolong his playing career. It’s clear from that gesture he is well thought of at both United and Villarreal.
It allowed Rossi to get a glimpse of Solskjaer as a manager having known him previously as a team-mate.
“It was his first months in the job, it was cool to see him do his thing, it was interesting to see the methods and ways he approached training and games,” Rossi told the Manchester Evening News.
“It was cool to see him stick around for the shooting with strikers, he wouldn’t shoot with us but he would be observing and giving input to the younger guys. Those young forwards like Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford should learn from Ole and they should take advantage of this great opportunity.”
Rossi would like to see Solskjaer be a success at Old Trafford, adding: “I never thought he would be a manager. It’s great to see him do well, this is his first final and it would be great to see a friend and ex-teammate do well.”
And when it comes to the final itself, Rossi concluded: “I can’t wait to watch it, it’s going to be very, very interesting. My heart is torn, I don’t know how I want it to go.
“I want to see Ole lift up his first trophy but I want to see Villarreal get their first trophy ever. It’s going to be great, I’m going to love watching that game.”