Welcome to Florence And The Goal Machine my FM19 save with ACF Fiorentina. I have been waiting in anticipation for the release of the game after the announcement of the new features and now it’s finally here I can get stuck in to the game and start to build what I hope will be the strongest club in Italy but first I have to analyse who we have at the club in terms of staff and players and lay the foundations that will give the club a chance to shine over the next few years. Toppling Juventus and maintaining the level to achieve this over time will be my focus. I played a few games with the Viola on the Beta and was going to continue the save on but then decided to start a fresh with the full release with the Serie C bug corrected.
It’s obvious to see that the First Team Squad are short of Italian identity so long term that is something that I would like to address however that does not mean we won’t sign non Italian players because if the player fits in to our model and makes us better then we will sign them. I do think that having a more Italian core is the way forward but Florence was not built in a day and with contracts to run down ect I will build over time. So let’s take a look at the players who make up our first team squad for my first season in charge.
When I took over the reigns of the Viola the club had already done a fair amount of transfer business bringing in Goalkeeper Alban Lafont from Toulouse, Central Defender Federico Ceccherini from FC Crotone, Left Back David Hancko from Zilina, Midfielder Christian Nørgaard from Brôndby all on permanent deals. The club also entered the loan market bringing in the following four players, Gerson from Roma who can play through the centre or as an Inside Forward, Central Midfielder Edmilson Fernades from West Ham United, Inside Forward Marko Pjaca from Juventus and Inside Forward Kevin Miralles.
Some people might think this crazy but I wish I could terminate the loan signings, whilst they are good players and I will no doubt call upon them during the season I think the wages that we are paying them could be put to better use.
- Alban Lafont 🇫🇷 (19)
- Bartłomiej Drągowski 🇵🇱 (21)
We have a very youthful look about our keeper department with both Lafont and Drągowski battling it out for the starting position. The younger Frenchman will start the season between the sticks but the Polish stopper will be pushing him all the way for the number 1 spot.
- Vincent Laurini 🇫🇷 (29)
- Cristiano Biraghi 🇮🇹 (26)
- Nikola Milenković 🇷🇸 (21)
- Federico Ceccherini 🇮🇹 (26)
- Maximiliano Olivera 🇺🇾 (26)
- David Hancko 🇸🇰 (20)
- Germán Pezzella 🇦🇷 (27)
- Vitor Hugo 🇧🇷 (27)
- Kevin Diks 🇱🇺 (22)
Looking at the defensive unit I feel we have a solid foundation with Vincent Laurini and Kevin Diks covering the right back slot and Cristiano Biraghi, Maximilliano Olivera and David Hancko covering at left back whilst in the centre of defence we have German Pezzella, Vitor Hugo, Nikola Milenković and Federico Ceccherini.
- Christian Nørgaard 🇩🇰 (24)
- Gerson 🇧🇷 (21) *Loan
- Bryan Dabo 🇧🇫 (26)
- Jordan Veretout 🇫🇷 (25)
- Marco Benassi 🇮🇹 (24)
- Edimilson Fernandes 🇨🇭 (22) *Loan
- Abdou Diakhate 🇸🇳 (19)
The midfield area is interesting with 7 players contesting 3 central positions in my system. Christian Norgaard the 24 year old Dane is a player who I would like to have sit in front of my defence probably in a Deep Lying Playmaker role however I have not set the roles yet. On loan Swiss Edmilson Fernandes will more than likely rotate with Norgaard whilst Marco Benassi and Jordan Veretout will most likely start ahead of them in the Central Midfield slots leaving Bryan Dabo and Gerson to stake a claim for a place. Last but most definitely not least is Abdou Diakhate the 19 year old Senegalese talent who I will promote from the Under 20’s squad can become a star player in Florence and will most definitely get some games under his belt at this level. With Gerson and Fernandes being loan players that I can’t terminate I am keen to develop Diakhate over the course of the season.
- Giovanni Simeone 🇦🇷 (23)
- Marko Pjaca 🇭🇷 (23) *Loan
- Kevin Mirallas 🇧🇪 (31) *Loan
- Riccardo Sottil 🇮🇹 (19)
- Federico Chiesa 🇮🇹 (20)
- Cyril Théréau 🇫🇷 (35)
- Dušan Vlahović 🇷🇸 (18)
- Valentin Eysseric 🇫🇷 (26)
- Martin Graiciar 🇨🇿 (19)
I have included my wide men in this section and without further a do my first choice right Winger is the wonderkid Federico Chiesa who at 20 years old is being tracked by a host of big name clubs however I will do my very best to keep him at the club. Under study to Chiesa will Riccardo Sottil whom I will offering a new contract from the start. I like Sottil and feel that he can become a star player at the club. On the opposite flank we have plenty of cover in Valentin Eysseric and two loan players Marko Pjaca and Kevin Mirallas. The Centre Forward position will be taken by first choice ‘El Cholito’ Giovanni Simeone who I hope can be the focal point up top by turning the chances we create. I am in no doubt ‘El Cholito’ will be the subject of a few bids from outside Tuscany. Backing the Argentine up we have the veteran Cyril Théréau who at 35 years of age is entering last year of his contract and at the other end of the scale Dušan Vlahović the 18 year old Sebian youth team player who will be promoted to the first team squad. Another promoted from the Under 20 squad is Czech Forward Martin Graiciar who will be vying with Vlahović for some game time this season.
The boards expectations are that we finish in the Top Half of the table and reach the Coppa Italia Quarter Finals. Very reasonable expectations based on the club’s last few years but I feel we need to be challenging the top 6 as a minimum.
Purple Inside 4-3-3 / 4-1-4-1
When setting out on developing a system I try to develop a system that is as realistic as the game allows in a way that I am not trying to develop a tactic that is unbeatable from time to time. In a funny way I enjoy crashing back down to earth with a defeat in the middle of an unbeaten run or going on a run that we have to dig deep to find a win. With that said I do like to see my team play the way I envisage in my head win, lose or draw.
This is a screenshot from our game against Frosinone were I had made 6 changes to our starting XI, it was also the first game that I had made a tweek to my original system in that I changed the original Central Midfield Attack role for a Box to Box Midfielder which is working well. In my opening post I outlined the way I wanted us to play :
- 4-3-3 Wide Formation
- Play out from the back
- Play through the thirds
- Creative and inventive in the final 3rd
- Create goal scoring opportunities from wide areas
- Counter attack
- Press from the front
- Defend as individuals and as a unit
- Defend counter attacks
- Work hard and show the right attitude to everything we do
- Develop a basic understanding of Attacking & Defending
- Learn to “Love the Game” – stay in love
- High levels of technical repetition work
- Players to enjoy playing in the positive environment created
We will play a 4-3-3 wide system with the following team instructions:
- Play Out Of Defence
- Shorter Passing
- Play Much Wider
- Work Ball In To Box
I want us to have a controlled approach we keep the ball and pass it with precision pass, pass and pass, possession but not for the sake of having possession I want good possession and a very high passing accuracy percentage creating good chances in front of goal with higher value shots or more to the point eliminate lower value shots. This is fundamental in the way I want the club to play.
Serie A 18-19 1a Stagione
The season finally got underway with a tricky trip to Turin to face Torino and by half time we were staring down the barrel by trailing 0-2 thanks to an inform Andrea Belotti. We needed to pull something out of the bag and quick so I tore a strip off the side at the interval hoping for a response. In the 57th minute I got the response I was searching for when Abdou Diakhate repaid my faith in him by driving the ball in to the roof of the Torino goal to put us back in the game. We were now in control and drew level when Giovanni Simeone flicked in a near post header just 6 minutes later. There was only to be one winner now with Torino looking she’ll shocked we sniffed victory and took our chance in the 75th minute when Marco Benassi got on the end of a sweeping move crafted by Chiesa who was by now tormenting the hosts backline. We held firm and overturned the two goal deficit to come away with an entertaining 3-2 victory that looked unlikely at half time.
“The wages we are paying out for the 4 loan signings made before I took over are doing my head in but with no option to terminate the deals I am going to have to live with it”
Matchday 2 at the Artemio Franchi was against Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio who kicked their campaign off with a victory in the Olympico against Parma. I decided to go for an unchanged side by keeping the faith in the lads who turned our opening game around and by the half time break we looked comfortable leading 2-0 with goals from Valentin Eysseric and a penalty from Giovanni Simeone. We managed to hold on for the 3 points in the second half despite Lazio pulling a goal back from their full back Kolorov but it proved nothing more than a consolation goal. A very pleasing victory and a good start for me in Florence.
The following Saturday saw our tricky start to the season continue when we travelled to Rome to take on Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma side. I made two changes to our starting XI with Jordan Veretout coming in for his first start after missing the opening two games through suspension. I also gave a start to young winger Riccardo Sottil who replaced Valentin Eysseric who had picked up a knock in training. The first half was a cat and mouse affair with both sides failing to create anything of note so we went in at the break all square 0-0. The 2nd half was much better from our point of view but it took us until the 77th minute to break the deadlock when Federico Chiesa finished nonchalantly with a dink over the the outward rushing keeper to give us a late lead. I took Veretout off and brought on Diakhate to give us a new burst of energy in the midfield. We looked to be heading to victory with Chiesa’s single strike when Deep Lying Playmaker Christian Nørgaard put the game to bed with shot from just inside the area giving us a well deserved 2-0 win and our third straight victory.
“Federico Chiesa is getting a lot of attention in the media with rumours that Arsenal are on the verge of making an offer”
The Italian Football Federation’s fixture computer did not give us the best of fixtures to start the season with but we can’t complain about the outcomes but we faced our most difficult fixture to date when we entertained Internazionale on Matchday 4 at the Franchi. Inter came in to the game with the news that talimatic forward Mauro Icardi was on the verge of agreeing a €110m transfer to Manchester United in January. Luciano Spalletti rocked up with a very strong looking Inter side looking for their 4th win of the season so surely something had to give. I knew our midfield would have to put in a shift if we were to get anything out of the game and they did not let me down, Norgaard, Benassi and Veretout started with Diakhate and Dabo coming on in the second period to give us more legs in a game of few chances that ended all square at 0-0. Yes it’s early days but I have seen enough of the squad to know that on our day and with hard work we have the foundations to build a successful club on.
Our next fixture took us to the San Siro to face Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan who have had a mixed start to the season. I am confident that we can compete against the big clubs in Italy after our start to the season however I am aware that the quality of players that ‘Rino Gattuso’ can call upon. I decided to turn to youngster Riccardo Sottil to replace the injured Valentin Eysseric on our left flank. Milan started the better but without troubling us with our Serbian central defender Nikola Milenković bossing Gonzalo Higuain. With chances coming at a premium both sides left the field at half time with score at 0-0. If Milan edged the first period we left them in doubt who was in control in the second half with Chiesa teasing our hosts time and time again. The Italian wonderkid then produced a touch of magic splitting the Milan backline in the 61st minute with a pass of pure quality to leave Giovanni Simeone one on one with the Milan keeper to calmly slot the ball in to the net and give El Cholito his third goal of the season. Would Milan respond? I decided to bring on Diakhate for the tiring Benassi who left the field to applause from the travelling Viola faithful after putting in a shift in the centre of the park. We saw the game out comfortable to come away with a very good 1-0 victory taking our record to 4 wins and a draw from our opening 5 games.
“Abdou Diakhate and Riccardo Sottil signed new contracts during the week which is pleasing because I think both players will play a big part over the next few years”
With confidence on a high we went in to Matchday 6 at home to U.S Sassuolo in 2nd place in the standings and very little in terms of injuries but a couple of players could do with a rest so I brought both Vitor Hugo and Maximiliano Olivera in to the starting line up to replace Nikola Milenković and Cristiano Biraghi in our backline. The Neroverdi starting XI contained two players who I admire and maybe one day get the chance to bring them to Florence in Domenico Berardi and Manuel Locattelli but today they are the enemy. Despite Sassuolo having a topsy turvy start to the season they look dangerous and give us something to think about in an entertaining first half that is dominated by a midfield battle between Alfred Duncan and our very own Marco Benassi with both players picking up yellow cards along the way. We go in all square at the break 0-0.
The second half picked up exactly were the first left off and I make a change with Diakhate coming on for Veretout and Gerson coming on for Chiesa. Our Norwegian playmaker Christian Nørgaard is starting to control the game and when he splits the defence to put Simeone in on goal we feel this is our moment but El Cholito blazed over and we end up drawing 0-0 and rueing the wasted chance.
“Milan Manager Gennaro Gattusso Was Spotted In The Artemio Franchi Rumoured To Be Checking Out Giovanni Simeone”
A trip to Serie A new boys Parma was next on the agenda were we found it difficult to finish after creating chance after chance and it was thanks to Giovanni Simeone that we managed to get all 3 points and a 1-0 win after a near post header beat the Parma keeper in the 85th minute. Rino Gattuso was in the stands running the rule over the Argentine Forward.
It’s been a good start to our campaign and we stretched our unbeaten start to the season with a 1-1 draw at home to in form Cagliari but we got very lucky when the Sardinians conceded a 3rd minute own goal which I thought may open the floodgates but to be be honest our visitors deserved a share of the spoils and could have won it if it had not have been for a superb save from our keeper Alban Lafont in the dieing minutes of the game.
” Eight games unbeaten with a record of Played 8, Won 5, Drawn 3 takes us nicely in to the International break”
We would resume our Serie A campaign with a trip to Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli with Chiesa, Simeone and Benassi all picking up knocks over the International break so Riccardo Sottil, Dušan Vlahović and Abdou Diakhate would all start in Naples. We went behind just before half time to a Dries Mertens strike which came against the run of play and it seemed to knock the stuffing out of us long in to the second half with us failing to get on the scoresheet. So our first defeat of the season 0-1 came at the hands of ‘King Carlitos’ and his Napoli side.
With us suffering our first defeat we returned to Florence to prepare for our Matchday 10 game at home to Empoli not too disappointed because the team are playing good football in the way that I want us to play. Our training schedule this week focused more on the technical side of the game. Abdou Diakhate’s form so far this season gave me a bit of a selection headache in the centre of the park but I decided to give the Senegalese youngster another starting place alongside Benassi and Norgaard in our midfield ahead of Veretout.
I was not to be disappointed when the powerful midfielder drove the ball in to the roof of the net in the 34th minute to give us a 1-0 lead at half-time. A Simeone goal in the 58th minute was enough to give us a 2-0 win and a solid performance in which we limited our visitors to just 1 shot on goal. In fact now would be a good time to praise our defensive unit which has kept 6 clean sheets from our 10 games played so far this season. Lafont, Biraghi, Olivera, Pezzella, Vitor Hugo, Milenković and Laurini have all played their part in our backline success so far.
“I have assigned one of my scouting team Derick Langley to run the rule over a few players including Domenico Berardi and Manuel Locatelli of U.S Sassuolo, Patrick Cutrone of Milan and Nicolò Barella of Cagliari”
Matchday 11 and Flying Donkeys everywhere when Chievo run in to a 2 goal lead after a lack lustre first half from our boys. In an assertive manner I hold no punches and let them know that our performance was not good enough and send them back out for the second half. The second half brought out a better performance from us but not to the level that I expect but we grab a goal back through Giovanni Simeone in the 53rd minute and then manage to scrape a 2-2 draw when Chievo gift us with an own goal after good work from Chiesa down the right wing. We were simply not good enough today and we followed it up by another below par performance at home to Frosinone who held us to a 0-0 draw in the Artemio Franchi after I made 6 changes to the side that drew at Chievo.
Matchday 13 and a mouth-watering clash in Bergamo when we travelled to face Gian Piero Gasperini and his Atalanta side who set up in a very deep 3-5-2 formation. I picked a strong side in our usual 433 system Lafont, Laurini, Pezzella, Hugo, Biraghi, Norgaard, Veretout, Benassi, Eysseric, Chiesa and Simeone. I was pleased how we started we looked back to our best after 2 disappointing performances and we took the lead when Jordan Veretout got on the end of a Eysseric pass in the 36th minute and it was Veretout who came close to doubling our lead just before the interval when a powerful effort crashed against the post.
A 1-0 lead at the break was well deserved after probably our best half of football so far this season I just loved watching the game pan out but we have to guard against complacency so I send them out for the second half with that message ringing in their ears. The team continued to dominate in the 2nd period and when El Cholito (Simeone) put us 2-0 up in the 57th minute I was confident that the boys had won us all three points. I expected a tougher game against Atalanta but a 2-0 win with 68% possession could have been more emphatic.
One downside to the win in Bergamo was that Valentin Eysseric picked up an injury that will sideline him for a few weeks.
“Federico Chiesa’s agent says that he is not willing to enter in to contract negotiations at this present time”
On the back of a good performance in Bergamo we entertained Genoa and fell to a surprising 1-2 defeat with our goal coming from Federico Chiesa who in midweek refused to enter in to contract negotiations but he is performing out on the pitch. I am not happy how we fell to defeat after Chiesa had put us 1-0 after just 6 minutes.
Eight days later we travelled to face Sampdoria in the Monday night tv game and we needed a Giovanni Simeone penalty to share the spoils 1-1 after an entertaining game that saw us lose four players to injury including Simeone, Sottil, Benassi and Diakate.
With a number of first team players sidelined it was time to call upon the loan players for the visit to The Artemio Franchi of high flying Udinese who have been punching above their wait. Both Edimilson Fernandes and Marko Pjaca made our starting line up and it was the Croatian Pjaca who stole the show with a man of the match performance scoring a brace in a convincing 4-0 win that was nothing short of dominance in every sense with both Chiesa and Thèréau also hitting the back of the net.
Pjaca was the man again when Matchday 17 took us to Bologna. The on loan wideman opened the scoring in the 7th minute after good work from Benassi released him down the left from were he cut in a blasted home. We went in at the interval 1-0 up but conceded an equaliser just after the break. Thankfully for us I was made to eat humble pie when just 2 minutes from time Pjaca scored the winning goal 2-1 and his 4th in two games.
“I really do begrudge us paying out thousands in Euro’s to the loan players however Marko Pjaca is making me eat humble pie”
With Giovanni Simeone injured I decided to give young forward Dušan Vlahović A start against SPAL which would be the first of a double header at home to take us up to the halfway stage of the Serie A season. The Viola faithful had to endure a poor first half performance from us with us going in at the break trailing 0-1. A much better second half and a goal from Federico Chiesa earnt us a share of the spoils. Ok we are unbeaten in 4 games but I can’t help but feel we are not performing at the same level that we started the season.
What better game to end the year than the visit of our big rivals Juventus who are looking strong at the top of the table. With Simeone not fully fit Vlahović started up front and looked lively in the first half that ended 0-0. We started the 2nd half by taking the game to the old lady but got hit on the counter when Ronaldo showed his quality teeing up Dybala to put Juve 1 up.
We responded well and just a minute later Jordan Veretout levelled the score on the hour after good work from Benassi and Biraghi. We looked to be on top and pushed for a winner but just when it looked like the game would end all square Ronaldo turned goalscorer in injury time to break the hearts of the Viola tifosi. The Old Lady had triumphed to put themselves 7 points clear at the top at the halfway stage.
The 1-2 defeat was hard to bear but looking back at the opening nineteen games I am happy with our progress sitting in 5th place in the table. The second half of the season will be interesting in many ways with the continuation of developing our system and navigating through the January transfer window with a focus on keeping hold of our top players.
Serie A Results and Table 18-19
Fiorentina v Juventus
The rivalry has been fuelled by their controversial meetings in cup finals, and competition in the transfer market. A player transferring from one club to the other, especially from Florence to Turin, is usually branded a ‘traitor’ by fans.
To some extent the rivalry has its origins in the fans of the local teams in Tuscany, as in many other areas of Italy, growing tired of seeing people from their towns heading off to support the country’s most successful teams, primarily Juventus. Like many of Europe’s biggest clubs, the Bianconeri have attracted followers from far and wide, but the Renaissance town of Florence remained true to Fiorentina. In addition to this and the typical aspect of pride between the residents of two important cities, Juventus had beaten Fiorentina 11–0 in their first league meeting in 1928, a humiliating result which had not been forgotten by either set of fans despite the passage of time. They also contested the 1960 Coppa Italia final, won by Juve.
In 1980, Fiorentina was bought by Flavio Pontello, a man from a rich house-building family who had aspirations to bring the Viola its third title and built the team around Italian star, Giancarlo Antognoni. On the final day of the 1981–82 Serie A season, with both teams competing for the national championship, a series of debatable decisions in two different matches intensified the rivalry. Heading into the last game, both teams were level on 44 points at the top of the table; Fiorentina went to relegation-threatened Cagliari, who needed a point to survive, while Juventus headed to Catanzaro, in seventh position with nothing to play for. Fiorentina had a goal disallowed for a push on the opposing goalkeeper as Cagliari managed to play out a 0–0 draw to steer clear of relegation. In Calabria, Catanzaro were denied a penalty while Juventus were awarded one, from which they scored to win 1–0 and claim their 20th scudetto In the aftermath, Fiorentina’s playmaker Giancarlo Antognoni famously remarked, ‘Ci hanno rubato il titolo’, meaning ‘They have stolen the title’. The Viola tifosi soon coined a saying, ‘meglio secondo che ladri’, meaning ‘better to be second than thieves’
Juventus won two more championships in the 1980s, while Fiorentina had inconsistent fortunes. In 1985, Fiorentina bought Roberto Baggio, an 18-year-old striker, from Vicenza, for 2.7 billion lire (£1.5 million). Considered one of the leading players of the league, he led Fiorentina to the final of the 1989–90 UEFA Cup, setting up the first all-Italian final in the history of the tournament against their arch-nemesis Juventus. Both sides had had close encounters with German teams in the semi-finals, Fiorentina beating Werder Bremen on away goals, and Juventus pipping 1. FC Köln 3–2.
The final was to be played over two legs, with the first leg to be held in Turin, while the second was held in Stadio Partenio in Avellino – Fiorentina’s home stadium was under renovation for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and the fixture was originally moved to the Stadio Renato Curi in Perugia, fairly close to Florence, but was then moved further away as punishment for supporters having staged a pitch invasion during the Werder Bremen tie. Avellino, despite being in Southern Italy, was a town with many fans of the Bianconeri and this concerned the Viola supporters. However, worries turned to anger when, with the score tied 1–1 in Turin, officials missed an apparent push by Juventus’ Pierluigi Casiraghi on Fiorentina’s Celeste Pin, allowing Angelo Alessio’s deflected shot to fire the home side in front. Juventus ended up winning 3–1, and during the post-match interview, Pin was heard shouting ‘ladri’ (thieves) at Juventus’ manager Dino Zoff. Between the two legs, Juventus’ goalkeeper Stefano Tacconi reminded Fiorentina that, while they might win the war of words, his side would win on the pitch. The second leg ended 0–0, and Juventus became the first Italian team (sixth across Europe) to win two UEFA Cup titles.
Pontello was suffering from economic difficulties by this time, and was considering the sale of the club’s prized asset: Roberto Baggio. Juventus were the club willing to pay a then world-record fee of 25 billion lire (£8 million), the world record transfer for a footballer at the time. His transfer led to severe riots in the streets of Florence and fans laid siege to the club’s headquarters; reports described bricks, chains and Molotov cocktails being thrown. In the two days following the transfer, Pontello was forced to take refuge in the Stadio Artemio Franchi, while 50 injuries and nine arrests were recorded. Baggio was called a ‘traitor’, but he still held the city of Florence and its football team close to his heart. On his return to his former home, he refused to take a penalty awarded to Juventus and was seen embracing a Viola scarf thrown by the Florentine supporters while waving it in the direction of the Curva Fiesole, the stronghold of the club’s ultras. While this endeared him to the Fiorentina followers, it caused a rift between him and Juventus supporters.
Fiorentina were relegated in 1993, and although they made it back the very next year, the rivalry took on a somewhat one-sided dimension in the following years. Both sides had scandals to deal with in the 2000s, as Fiorentina declared bankruptcy in June 2002 and was re-established by the della Valle brothers in August 2002 as Associazione Calcio Fiorentina e Fiorentina Viola, playing in Serie C2 , the fourth tier of Italian football. Former Juventus player, Angelo di Livio, was the only player to remain at the club as they returned to top-flight football in two years. Both teams, among others, were implicated in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, which relegated Juventus to Serie B, and revoked their last two titles. Fiorentina meanwhile were given a 15-point penalty applied to the next season.
In 2012, the hierarchies of the two clubs clashed after Juventus made a late bid to hijack Fiorentina’s pursuit of Dimitar Berbatov. In the end, the Bulgarian snubbed both clubs for Fulham, but this did not stop the Fiorentina owners from claiming their rivals ‘knew nothing of the values of honesty, fair play and sporting ethics.
History repeated itself for Fiorentina in the summer of 2017, with the della Valle brothers looking to sell the club but with no takers. Many top players, including Matías Vecino, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Borja Valero, and Ciprian Tătărușanu were released or sold as the owners wanted to recoup funds rather than invest in the club. They wished to renew the contract of local star, Federico Bernardeschi, but he was unwilling to renew his deal with the Viola and instead secured a transfer to rivals Juventus for €40 million on a five-year deal. Fans responded with vulgar banners saying ‘A chi non piacerebbe sputarti in faccia, Bernardeschi gobbo di merda’, which translates to ‘Who wouldn’t like to spit in your face, Bernardeschi you shitty hunchback’. On 9 February 2018, Bernardeschi returned to Florence, receiving vulgar insults throughout the match like Roberto Baggio had experienced. He scored a free kick in the second half to silence the crowd
I think one of the biggest tasks in front of me is trying to keep Federico Chiesa at the club, already I have attempted to offer a new contract but the wonderkid is not putting pen to paper in a hurry due to the fact a number of big clubs (see screenshot below) are on his trail. Unai Emery seems to be at most of our games watching the wonderkid.
I mentioned before that I wanted to bring more of an Italian identity to the squad but I didn’t want to add to the first team squad this season but that does not stop me starting to build for the future and that is just what I have done in recruiting 3 Italian talents that I believe can make an impact from next season onwards. The first player to put pen to paper is Midfielder come Wide Man Alessandro Cortinovis who at 17 years old joins the club from Atalanta and will spend his first year in Florence with our Under 20 squad.
Another Boy from Bergamo Forward Simone Mazzocchi joins us at the end of the season. Mazzocchi is no stranger to me after managing Atalanta on FM18. The 20 year old can add another dimension to our game in the final third. Mazzocchi will join us at the end of this season.
Last but not least I have acquired the services of Sandro Tonali who has the potential to become a top player, the Brescia youngster is strongly being touted to become the next Pirlo. Tonali will spend this season on loan at Brescia before joining us at the end of the season.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and catch up with Florence And The Goal Machine, next time I will be taking a look at our youth squads and our first youth intake. I will cutting down the number of players in our squads to a more manageable number plus we will bring the curtain down on season one.