Alberto Gilardino made sure of the Azzurri’s qualification to the World Cup next summer by scoring a late equaliser against the Republic of Ireland. La Viola’s striker came on as a second-half substitute to notch goal number 13 of his international career. Gilardino confirmed his positive form which bodes well for the Gigliati with the next match featuring a duel with Juventus this weekend.
The striker’s confidence must be sky-high after he deemed his late goal as the most significant of his career. He will probably hold a place in the squad’s final roster with Napoli’s Fabio Quagliarella and Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi struggling for form this season. The ex-Parma goal poacher is expected to start against Cyprus in Italy’s last World Cup qualifier and he will be looking to add to his international goal tally. The former Rossoneri striker along with defender Alessandro Gamberini will most likely be la Viola’s two representatives with the Azzurri in South Africa. It is unlikely that winger Marco Marchionni and midfielder Riccardo Montolivo will be part of the national team roster based on recent selections by Coach Marcello Lippi. The other Gigliati players that could potentially be present in South Africa are Denmark’s Martin Jørgensen and Per Kroldrup. Both Danish players are rumoured to be heading away from Florence come the end of season. Defender Kroldrup has stated his interest in remaining with the club from Tuscany despite limited playing time. It is unlikely both players will have ample opportunities to impress and that might jeopardise their chances of being called up to represent their country in South Africa
On the transfer front, Fiorentina has been linked with a host of names including Real Madrid’s Royston Drenthe, Roma’s Philippe Mexes, Getafe’s Juan Albin and Bari’s Alessandro Gazzi. While Drenthe and Mexes will serve as defensive reinforcements, Gazzi operates in midfield and Albin is a forward. The nature of these links reveals the club’s grand ambitions as well as Coach Cesare Prandelli’s realisation that the team needs more depth all around and not just in defence. Forward Juan Albin is probably eyed as a replacement in case Romanian forward Adrian Mutu leaves the Stadio Artemio Franchi, while Gazzi will add depth to Fiorentina’s midfield. The addition of both Mexes and Drenthe will by far serve as the biggest improvement to the team since the French defender has great potential though he has yet to reach his peak. Dutchman Drenthe offers energy, pace and experience on the left-flank and can operate as a full-back or a winger. Coach Prandelli can employ Marchionni as right-winger and Drenthe on the opposite flank to provide width and crosses for both Gilardino and strike partner Stevan Jovetic. The young Montenegrin international has once again confirmed that he will not seek a move away from la Viola despite widespread interest in his services. Jovetic has been impressive since the start of this season and has capped his great early season form with a famous brace against Liverpool in the Champions League.
The current form of la Viola will be firmly tested in the upcoming away match in Turin against Juventus. The match has implications that go beyond the table standings which both teams are hotly contesting. Facing la Vecchia Signora is always a huge event considering the history between the two clubs such as legendary forward Roberto Baggio’s transfer from Florence to the Old Lady. This pre-season there was a number of transactions involving both teams. The Bianconeri signed Brazilian Felipe Melo in a widely hailed move while Cristiano Zanetti and Marchionni went the opposite way. Marchionni was included as part of the Melo deal while the Brazilian enforcer’s replacement in Florence is none other than Zanetti who has filled in admirably and ensured the tifosi have not sorely missed the departed midfield anchorman. In recent weeks a number of reports emanating from Turin have confirmed Bianconeri Coach Ciro Ferrara and the club’s management were not in favour of letting Zanetti join Fiorentina.
The expected showdown has already created a number of controversial comments with the Gigliati’s custodian Sebestien Frey and forward Mutu criticising the Bianconeri’s previous management. Frey was critical of Juve’s former leadership which he felt was unjustified in its behind-the-scenes plots despite having one of the strongest squads in Italy. He claimed the Old Lady would still have done well in Serie A without additional favours. Romanian Mutu was more critical of the old management slamming it for providing incomplete documents in relation to his much maligned legal battle with Chelsea. The timing of the remarks by both players obviously coincides with the impending clash between the two clubs.
Fiorentina Club Focus
Viola continue to grind out results – September 15, 2009
La Viola lose Gilardino and the points – September 18, 2009
Fatigue catching up with la Viola – September 22, 2009
Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria – September 25, 2009
La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut – September 29, 2009
The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence? – October 2, 2009
Two points lost and a wasted opportunity – October 6, 2009
Good news all round – October 9, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer rumours abound as Gilardino fires la Nazionale to South Africa – October 13, 2009