Season 3 of The Viola Story is underway and we have got it off to a good start by winning the Supercoppa after another heated clash against Juventus. After last seasons poor showing in Europe I decided that it was time to use the club’s superb financial position and try and bring some top talent in to the club in an attempt to improve our game outside of Italy. First of all we freed up space in the squad by selling Romagnoli £32m to Manchester City after he requested to speak to them, next Badelj joined Napoli for an initial fee of £6m rising to £7.25m with add ons. Mario Gomez signed for Leicester City for £8m rising to £10m. Alberto Aqualani left by mutual consent and Gilberto joined Anderlecht for £3m. We also released a number of fringe players and youth players who we feel won’t make the grade in Florence, Pasquale retired and Balotelli ‘s loan ended , we had an option to buy him but I decided we needed something different. We then stepped up the chase to bring players in, Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco was the first player to join us for £25m after PSG allowed us to talk to him. Next Columbian midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero agreed terms with us, Quintero is no stranger to me after he played in my FC Porto side which reached the Champions League Final on FM14. Transfer listed Isco £16m from Real Madrid will add quality to our midfield whilst defender Eder Alvarez Balanta will join us in January after we negotiated a £10m deal with River Plate. Another defender Belgian Toby Alderweireld agreed terms with us after a number of clubs looked to sign him after he had requested a transfer at Tottenham. Fans of the Viola expressed their delight when we signed explosive forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £40m a club record fee from Borussia Dortmund. Last but not least Breel Embolo joined us from Napoli after spending 2 seasons in Naples. The Swiss attacker will add competition to the rest of the squad. We have invested a lot of money in trying to take the club to the next level over the next few seasons with all the deals negotiated with half the transfer fees up front with the balance spread out over 48 months.
Pre season went really well with us rotating our squad each game playing a 4-3-3 formation that we used to great effect at the later part of last season. We beat Rennes, Carpi, NEC, Palermo, Lucchese, Partizan and Red Bull Salzburg during pre season which led us up to the Supercoppa game against Juventus at the Olympico in Rome. This would be our fourth final against Juventus in little over 2 years with us winning 2 of the previous 3 finals. The last meeting Juve came out on top with a late extra time goal in the Coppa Italia final just a few months ago. Before kick off I told the boys to go and avenge that last defeat and bring the trophy back to Florence. I chose to go with the 4-3-3 and picked Carrasco,Isco and Aubameyang in the starting line up. I also gave a debut to Abdou Diakhate our promising young midfielder who reminds me of Patrick Vieira.
The game got underway with both teams looking to stamp their authority on the game, inside 11 minutes we had received 2 yellow cards a( familiar story in our games v Juventus ) Rodriguez and Carrasco the offenders. Then Nabil Fekir gave Juve the lead with a lovely finish. We responded well and piled the pressure on Chiellini, Coman and Pogba went in to the referees book has Juve looked to hold on to the lead. Then on 42 minutes new boy Aubameyang repaid my faith in him by putting us level with a deftly placed finish giving veteran keeper Buffon no chance sending the Viola ultras in to full voice. Isco picked up a yellow on the stroke of half time. I got the lads together and gave them the hair dryer treatment in a hope that it would fire them up for the second half which started with 4 more yellow cards, the game was on the brink of boiling over so I shouted to the lads to calm down. Then on 57 minutes Kingsley Coman breached our back line to put Juve 2-1 up. “Come on boys show some passion” 69 minutes Aubameyang gets his 2nd of the game and we are back in it….game on. Just has I thought we could get a winner we were delt a blow Davide Astori receives a straight red. Bocchetti on for Zivkovic, we deal with the resulting free kick then defend well from a Juve corner. 78 minutes on the clock Elneny on for the tiring Diakhate, a mistake from the restart and Elneny latches on to a mistake in the Juve back line and scores with his first touch, incredible I punch the air with joy we are 3-2 up with 10 men. I make another change Sansone comes on for Carrasco, “I have faith in you” Sansone looks deep in thought…..he adds fresh legs in the dying minutes has we hold on for a superb victory and well deserved. We pick our fourth trophy up in my era, well done boys enjoy your victory. The media have made us favourite to win Serie A, whist the board expect us to qualify for the Champions League and reach the knockout stage of this season’s Champions League.
I am looking forward to getting the season underway and will be back soon with the next Viola Story Update. Thanks for reading Arriverderci
The Viola Story So Far
Serie A Runners Up – Coppa Italia Winners
Serie A Champions – Italian Super Cup Winners – Coppa Italia Runners Up
Italian Super Cup Winners