Could This Be Soccer’s Most Controversial Signing Of The Year?

Italy's Grosso plans on finshing career in Australia, the country he knocked out of the 2006 World Cup with a flop.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

The man who put an early end to one of the proudest moments in Australian sporting history is on verge of signing a contract to play A-League soccer.

Grosso, who played 48 games for Italy between 2003 and 2009, allegedly wants to finish his career down under after playing this season with Juventas as a forgotten man.

A leading player agent has told media outlets that Grosso personally has said to him that Australia is his choice to play and A-League teams are lining up to sign the defender.

Australians remain bitter about the dive (see it here) that Grosso took in the Round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup, a play that he admittedly said he exaggerated and which eliminated the Aussies from the tournament.

"Maybe I accentuated it a little bit," he said when talking to Australian soccer publication Football+ after the tournament.

The Socceroos made only their second FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006, and first since 1974, and a great run saw them survive Japan and Brazil then advance past the group stage to play in the final 16 against Italy. In a game that featured six yellow cards, Australia, missing superstar Harry Kewell to a case of bout, put the Italians on the brink. Marco Materazzi's red card had the Italians down to 10 men, but in stoppage time Grosso fell from a no contact challenge in the box by Lucas Neill. Franceso Totti would go on to convert the 95th minute penalty, eliminating the Aussies and propelling the eventual Italian champions into the next round.

Grosso said to Football+, “I felt the contact so I went down.”

“Therefore, I say again, I didn’t initiate it … It’s true that I felt the touch and didn’t have the strength to go forward. Some people believe me and some don’t. However for me, even after seeing the video images, it’s a penalty.”

Grosso will likely be welcomed by fans from whichever club eventually obtains him but you can expect a fair amount of boos whenever he plays away from home.