Fiorentina confirmed on Monday that Riccardo Montolivo will be stripped of the captaincy after deciding not to renew his contract. The Italian midfielder has been at the Viola since 2005 and has been captain of the club since 2010. The contract negotiations began over a year ago but the two parties have not been able to reach an agreement. It is understood the regista is being looked at by Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan in this summer’s transfer window. The midfielder began his career at Atalanta at the tender age of 18, playing 40 games for La Dea and helping them gain promotion to Serie A. Despite some eye catching solo performances his side were relegated from Italy’s top flight the following season. However, after impressing in an otherwise unmemorable season for his club he moved to Fiorentina in 2005. Although he did not feature regularly for his new club he impressed in the Italian Under 21s and soon began to be noticed more in Serie A. He made his debut for the national side in 2007 and started every game in the disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign, where he took Andrea Pirlo’s place in the starting line up. Although he plays predominantly as a deep lying playmaker his technical ability and vision could well mean he plays in a more advanced role as he matures. His style is very similar to Andrea Pirlo which would surely make a move to Juventus unlikely. Even though the comparison is made frequently he is capable of being a more dynamic player than Pirlo has been - it must also be remembered l’architetto did not really make his name until his mid twenties. The range of passing at his disposal, whether left or right footed, is outstanding. He seems able to thread his passes almost effortlessly through defences which has even caught the eye of Arsene Wenger. There were strong links to Montolivo last summer when the opening saga of Cesc Fabregas’ transfer to Barcelona began. It is thought his main weakness is the speed he operates at - playing as a regista you need time and space in order to conduct the play. However, playing domestically it is fine but when playing against other, more athletic sides in Europe these faults can be exposed. He struggled in the World Cup when he was put under constant pressure by the opposition. It is clear his future lies away from the Viola. He needs to play European football regularly and play against the best in order to reach his full potential. A move to AC Milan would be beneficial for both after Andrea Pirlo’s move to Juventus this summer. He would fit seamlessly into a formation and style and would be playing at the highest level with some of the best players in Serie A. He has made his name at Fiorentina and the manner of his departure is unfortunate, however, there is plenty still to come from the 26 year old.
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