FLORENCE, Italy — American-born forward Giuseppe Rossi has made it clear he is on the verge of leaving Serie A club Fiorentina in search of more playing time.
Italian media have reported he is close to joining Levante, which is last in the standings of the Spanish top-flight, after starting just four league matches this season as he recovers from a fourth knee operation.
On Thursday he wrote a long message on Twitter in response to a fan of Fiorentina, the Florence club known as the 'Viola' in Italy.
"I'm the first to be disappointed because I owe a debt to the Fiorentina fans," Rossi said. "I gave my all in everything I've done, from therapy to training in recent times, because I wanted to continue to give them emotions on the pitch. But it's hard to do when chances are few and far between.
"Football is life for me, and if you take that away from me I can never be happy. I hope that you and the Fiorentina fans can understand me because I want to smile again. I'll always keep the Viola in my heart, and I can never forget the goosebumps you gave me on Sundays."
Levante will reportedly have the right to buy Rossi at the end of the season for around 6 million euros ($6.5 million) but the 28-year-old is keen to return to Italy.
"It's a 'see you later', not a goodbye," Rossi said as he left Fiorentina's training center. "I am very disappointed, we'll see how it ends."
It would be a return to Spain for Rossi, who joined Fiorentina in 2013 after six years at Villarreal.
The Italy forward — who was born in New Jersey — also played for Manchester United, Newcastle and Parma.
Rossi tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during a game for Villarreal against Real Madrid in October 2011 and needed three operations before returning in May 2013 with Fiorentina.
He also missed four months of the 2013-14 season with a sprained ligament, and was left out of Italy's World Cup squad because of that injury.
Rossi underwent a fourth operation on his troublesome right knee in September 2014 and missed the whole of last season.
He agreed to take a salary cut upon his return last September.