Iachini Promises To Restore Fiorentina’s Pride

Giuseppe Iachini Coach of Empoli during the Italian championship Serie A football match between Empoli and Chievo Verona on February 2, 2019 at Stadio Carlo Castellani in Empoli, Italy. AFP

 

New Fiorentina coach Giuseppe Iachini vowed to restore pride in the struggling Italian side as he was unveiled on Saturday at the club he played for 30 years ago.

The 55-year-old replaced Vincenzo Montella who was sacked a week ago with the team trailing in 15th place, three points above the relegation zone.

Ex-midfielder Iachini has agreed an 18-month contract with the club he lined out for 127 times during a five-year spell as a player.

“I’m very happy to be back in my second home, here I have many memories and an exceptional relationship with the city and the fans,” Iachini told a press conference in Florence.

Iachini insisted he was the right man “to overturn a situation that has become a little complicated”.

Montella was sacked after Fiorentina lost their last game 4-1 to Roma and have taken just two points from their last seven games.

“I’ll try to understand what has happened in the last six or seven games,” he continued.

“I don’t have a magic wand, but I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and bring the team back to where it belongs.”

Since turning to coaching in 2002 Iachini has managed Italian teams including Sampdoria, Palermo, Sassuolo and Udinese.

He has been without a club since being sacked by Empoli last March.

“I’m used to these situations,” he insisted.

“I took over Sassuolo in penultimate place and we finished 11th that season, while I saved Empoli after revolutionising the squad on a tactical level.

“Many teams had looked for me, even a national team,but Fiorentina cannot be refused.”

Buoyed at the start of the season by the arrival of Franck Ribery, the team has been struggling since the Frenchman suffered a serious ankle injury that will keep him out until February.

“It will be a pleasure to coach Ribery, he’s a serious professional,” continued Iachini.

“I’m convinced that he is a resource for Fiorentina, in terms of personality and experience on and off the pitch.”

“(Federico) Chiesa spent several days at the training ground with me, giving up on his vacation,” he added.

“He’s a good lad who is eager to do what is best for Fiorentina.”

The club return to training on Sunday with their next Serie A game will be at Bologna on January 6.

“We will do tests, we will make evaluations and then we will make decisions,” added Iachini

“The market? We will have a meeting soon, but in the meantime I have the utmost confidence in those who are here.”

AFP

Struggling Fiorentina Sack Manager

In this file photo taken on December 15, 2019 Fiorentina’s Italian head coach Vincenzo Montella attends the Italian Serie A football match Fiorentina vs Inter Milan at the Artemio-Franchi stadium in Florence. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Fiorentina announced on Saturday that they had fired coach Vincenzo Montella with the club struggling in 14th in Serie A.

“Vincenzo Montella has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the first team,” the club announced on its web site. “The decision was taken following a long and detailed analysis of the team’s performances and results.”

“Given the need to rediscover the necessary grit and determination on the pitch and produce an immediate turnaround, the owners and management decided that a change of coach was the best option,” the club continued.

Fiorentina promised a new coach would be announced “in the next few days”.

Montella, a 45-year-old former Italy winger, managed Fiorentina from 2012-15 leading the club to two fourth-place finishes in Serie A before he was fired. After spells in charge at Sampdoria, AC Milan and Sevilla, he returned to Florence in April.

Fiorentina lost 4-1 at home to Roma on Friday and have taken just two points from their last seven games.

Buoyed at the start of the season by the arrival of Franck Ribery, the team has been struggling since the Frenchman suffered a serious ankle injury that will keep him out until February.

Fiorentina have started their winter break and do not play again in Serie A until January 6.

Cagliari Rout Fiorentina 5-2, Climb To Third In Serie A

File: Dalbert of ACF Fiorentina during the Italian championship Serie A football match between AC Milan and AFC Fiorentina on September 29, 2019 at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy – Photo Fabrizio Carabelli / Sportphoto24 / DPPI
Fabrizio Carabelli / SportPhoto24 / DPPI

 

Radja Nainggolan inspired Cagliari to a 5-2 win over Fiorentina as the Sardinians continued their fine form to move third in Serie A on Sunday.

The Mediterranean outfit have 24 points from 12 games — seven points behind leaders Inter Milan, who moved top after beating Verona 2-1 on Saturday.

Defending champions Juventus are second and can reclaim the number one spot when they host 13th-placed AC Milan later on Sunday.

“Not even in the most optimistic forecasts could we have imagined being here,” said Cagliari coach Rolando Maran.

“Radja is capable of extraordinary things and you just have to stand back and applaud.”

READ ALSO: How Messi’s Dead-Ball Hat-Trick Put Barca Back On Top

Fiorentina are struggling without Franck Ribery who has been given a three-match ban for pushing an official.

But Cagliari, who battled relegation last season, have been in superb form since Nainggolan returned after five years away, including a difficult season at Inter Milan last term.

The Belgian contributed three assists and capped a stellar performance with the fifth goal of the game after 65 minutes.

Serb Dusan Vlahovic pulled two late goals back for Fiorentina in the final quarter of an hour but the Tuscans are eighth.

The game was halted at the 13th minute, as both teams paid tribute to former Fiorentina captain Davide Astori who also played for Cagliari.

Four minutes later Nainggolan set up Mark Rog for the opener, with Fabio Pisacane nodding in the second less than ten minutes later.

The 31-year-old Nainggolan was involved again in Giovanni Simeone’s third goal against the Spanish forward’s parent club, as well as Joao Pedro’s effort ten minutes after the break, before blasting in his second goal of the campaign from a distance.

He was given a standing ovation when substituted after 78 minutes.

“There is little to comment, it was an ordeal,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella.

“They were clearly superior to us. We need to draw lessons from this.”

Cagliari extended their winning run to a third consecutive game and are unbeaten in ten games, which includes seven victories and three draws.

Roma travel to Parma later on Sunday where a win would put them back ahead of Cagliari.

Atalanta and Lazio will bid to move level on points with the Sardinians against Sampdoria and Lecce respectively.

AFP

Lazio Loan Badelj To Fiorentina

Milan Badelj of Lazio during the Italian Serie A football match SS Lazio v Chievo Verona at the Olimpico Stadium in Rome, Italy on April 20, 2019. Matteo Ciambelli / NurPhoto

 

Fiorentina have signed Croatia midfielder Milan Badelj on a season-long loan from Lazio, the Stadio Artemio Franchi side announced on Monday.

Badelj returns to the Tuscan outfit just a year after leaving for the Italian capital on a free transfer, with the club’s sporting director Daniele Prade revealing in an impromptu press conference they have an option to buy him at the end of the loan period.

“I had the choice to stay at Lazio or return here. I chose the latter, even though I didn’t think there was any chance of it happening given that I left on a free,” the 30-year-old said at the conference.

Badelj, who spent four years at Fiorentina before his move to Lazio, has played more than 40 times for his country, scoring once as they reached the final of last year’s World Cup.

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He won the Coppa Italia with Lazio last season, although he played no part in the final as Simone Inzaghi’s side ran out 2-0 winners over Atalanta.

Italian-American media magnate Rocco Commisso bought Fiorentina in June, ending the 17-year ownership of the Della Valle family led by billionaire Diego Della Valle, the head of luxury group Tod’s.

Hopes are high that 69-year-old Commisso, chairman of cable television provider Mediacom group and owner of the New York Cosmos, can breathe new life into Fiorentina after they escaped relegation to Serie B on the final day of last season.

AFP

US Billionaire Buys Italian Club Fiorentina

Chairman and CEO Media Communications Corporation Rocco B. Commisso speaks on stage at the 32nd Annual Walter Kaitz Foundation Fundraising Dinner Hosted By TV One at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 30, 2015 in New York City. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Walter Kaitz/AFP

 

Italian-American media magnate Rocco Commisso on Thursday completed the purchase of Serie A team Fiorentina, the Italian club announced.

Reported to be worth in the region of 170 million euros ($190 million), the deal brings an end to the 17-year ownership of the Della Valle family.

The 69-year-old Commisso is chairman of cable television provider Mediacom group, and owns New York Cosmos soccer club.

He had in recent years tried to buy AC Milan.

“I have always been a fan of Italian football and there are no words to describe how incredibly honoured I am to have the opportunity to contribute to writing the next chapter in the history of a legendary club like Fiorentina,” said Commisso.

Born in Calabria in southern Italy he moved to the United States in 1962, with his mother and two sisters to join his father and brother, who had moved there six years earlier.

“Florence is known throughout the world as a city that represents the best of Italian culture,” said Commisso.

“In these three years of contacts to acquire the club, I have developed a profound awareness of how important La Viola is for this city and its fans.”

The Della Valle family, which includes entrepreneur Diego Della Valle, who controls luxury group Tod’s, purchased the Tuscany club in 2002 after the former two-time Serie A winners went bankrupt and were relegated.

“Diego and Andrea deserve great honours for having saved this company from financial collapse,” said Commisso.”They leave solid foundations on which to build the club”.

Fiorentina finished 16th last season, just three points above the drop zone. Their last trophy was a sixth Coppa Italia in 2001.

They won two Serie A titles in 1956 and 1969.

Della Valle brothers Diego and Andrea said they chose the offer which they believed to be best for the club.

“Among the various offers we received, we prioritised the one that wasn’t most financially advantageous for us but the one we believe gives the greatest guarantees of a solid and passionate future to the Viola, given the knowledge and competence that Rocco Commisso already has in the world of football,” they said in a statement.

AFP

Ex-Italy Striker Montella Returns As Fiorentina Coach

Vincenzo Montella/ AFP

 

Vincenzo Montella has returned for a second stint as coach of mid-table Serie A side Fiorentina, the Italian club announced on Wednesday.

Montella previously coached the Tuscany outfit from 2012 to 2015, leading them to three consecutive fourth-place finishes and the Europa League semi-finals.

Stefano Pioli resigned as coach on Tuesday as the club sit 10th in Serie A with seven games to play.

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Fiorentina confirmed Montella had signed a contract until June 30, 2021, and would be unveiled later on Wednesday.

After leaving Fiorentina, Montella went on to manage Sampdoria and AC Milan, but has been out of coaching since being sacked by Spanish club Sevilla last April.

Fiorentina’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa League have plummeted as they are 12 points off the second-tier European competition.

The team have just one win from their last 10 Serie A games but are still in the chase for the Italian Cup, playing Atalanta in the semi-final return leg on April 25, having drawn 3-3 in the away leg.

Montella’s first match back at the Stadio Artemio Franchi will be against Bologna on Sunday.

AFP

VAR Helps Fiorentina Beat SPAL Amid Controversy

Video Assistant Referees/AFP

 

Fiorentina were saved by VAR on Sunday amid chaotic scenes after the referee disallowed SPAL a goal and instead awarded a penalty which the Tuscans converted before winning 4-1.

Mattia Valoti’s deflected strike after 75 minutes had been greeted with delight by the home crowd as it had given relegation-threatened SPAL a 2-1 advantage after 75 minutes in Ferrara.

But the referee immediately ordered a video review which confirmed Felipe had fouled Federico Chiesa in the build-up to the goal which he disallowed and instead awarded Fiorentina a penalty.

Jordan Veretout stepped up and converted from the spot with the decision proving to be a killer blow for SPAL who instead of being 2-1 up were 2-1 down.

The hosts scrambled to get back into the game but conceded a goal with Giovanni Simeone adding a third minutes later, and Brazilian Gerson a fourth two minutes from time.

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SPAL had taken the lead through Andrea Petagna after 36 minutes before Edimilson Fernandes grabbed the equaliser just before the break.

Fiorentina move up to eighth — seven points off the Champions League places — after their eighth win this season.

SPAL sit three points above the relegation zone after their 12th defeat.

AFP

Fiorentina Hold Napoli As Martinez Gets Inter Back Winning

Fiorentina Beat Napoli As Martinez Gets Inter Back Winning
Fiorentina’s Italian defender Federico Ceccherini (L) and Napoli’s Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne go for the ball during the Italian Serie A football match Fiorentina vs Napoli on February 9, 2019 at the Artemio-Franchi stadium in Florence. Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Napoli could finish the weekend trailing Serie A leaders Juventus by 11 points after Carlo Ancelotti’s wasteful side stuttered to a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina on Saturday, as Lautaro Martinez scored the only goal to get Inter Milan back winning against promoted Parma.

Both sides start their Europa League campaigns this week after crashing out of the Champions League with Napoli travelling to FC Zurich and Inter Milan away to Rapid Vienna in their round of the 32, first leg ties.

Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont produced a string of saves to deny Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens as Napoli failed to score away from home for the third game running.

“We dropped two points that we would’ve deserved for attacking from start to finish,” said Ancelotti.

“In some ways, it was an impeccable performance, but we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal and were forced to make do with a point.”

Ancelotti’s side have now been held twice in the past three games while hosts Fiorentina drew for the 11th time in 23 matches this season to sit ninth, but just six points off the Champions League berths.

The Tuscany side’s best chance came just after half-time when French midfielder Jordan Veretout was denied by an excellent stop from Alex Meret.

Inter Milan, in third, got back winning after Martinez came off the bench late, scoring after 79 minutes at Parma, after an earlier Danilo D’Ambrosio headed goal was ruled out after a VAR video review for a handling offence.

Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan crossed nicely for the Argentine blast in Luciano Spalletti’s side their first league goal and win of 2019.

Inter are now nine points behind Napoli, with Roma in fourth, a further five points behind, and Lazio fifth after their wins over Chievo and Empoli earlier this week.

“I’m well suited to overcoming difficulties,” said under-pressure Inter Milan coach Spalletti.

“Just as the defeat against Bologna (last week) caused despair, this victory will give us enthusiasm and strength.

“We must now keep a low profile to rediscover stability. We showed positive things tonight, but we need to produce further performances like this to gain consistency.”

Parma are in 12th position with just one goal from their last five games, despite their heroics last week with a late Gervinho double holding champions Juventus 3-3.

Unbeaten Juventus could stretch their advantage to double digits on Sunday when they travel to mid-table Sassuolo, firming on track for an eighth consecutive league title.

West Ham’s Edimilson Joins Fiorentina On Loan

Edimilson Fernandes

 

West Ham midfielder Edimilson Fernandes joined Italian side Fiorentina on a season-long loan on Monday.

Fernandes has found himself surplus to requirements at the Premier League club after new manager Manuel Pellegrini brought in a host of new players in pre-season.

The 22-year-old, capped four times by Switzerland, joined the Hammers in 2016 from FC Sion and made 48 appearances.

“Edimilson Fernandes has signed for Italian Serie A side Fiorentina on a season-long loan,” the club confirmed on their website.

AFP

Autopsy Says Accelerated Heartbeat Killed Fiorentina Defender Astori

In this file photo taken on February 29, 2016 shows Fiorentina’s Italian defender Davide Astori (C) fights for the ball with Napoli’s Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain during the Italian Serie A football match between Acf Fiorentina and Napoli at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence.
ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

 

The former Italy and Fiorentina defender Davide Astori, who died at his team hotel in March, was most likely killed by an abnormal heart acceleration, Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported Friday.

The 31-year-old, with no history of the heart problems, was alone in his hotel room in Udinese on the eve of a match.

Corriere reported that the autopsy asserted that Astori would not have been asleep at the time of his death and might have been saved had he had a roommate.

His death had at first been presumed to have been caused by a slowing of the heart, but Corriere Della Sera cited the autopsy as saying he died after a violent acceleration of the heartbeat.

Astori’s funeral was attended by vast crowds of fans and dozens of top professional players who came to pay respect to a widely popular man who captained his club and played 14 times for Italy.

Fiorentina Create Trust Fund For Late Captain, Astori’s Daughter

Fiorentina’s supporters pay homage to Fiorentina’s captain Davide Astori as his coffin is carried out of Santa Croce basilica at the end of the funeral on March 8, 2018 in Florence. 
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Fiorentina have created a trust fund to help support the daughter of late captain Davide Astori, the Italian club said on Saturday.

The Italy international and Fiorentina defender was found dead in his hotel room in the north-eastern city of Udine on March 4 ahead of a Serie A match against Udinese.

This file photo taken on February 16, 2017, shows Fiorentina’s defender from Italy Davide Astori (L) reacting after the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first-leg football match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Fiorentina in Moenchengladbach, western Germany.  PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP

 

He left behind his parents, girlfriend Francesca and their two-year-old daughter Vittoria.

“The idea of the trust is to contribute to the economic security of little Vittoria and will be managed by the Astori family and her mother Francesca,” the club said.

“With this gesture we hope that we will display in the name of the team and the fans the love and respect we all hold towards Davide.”

On Sunday, Fiorentina play their final home game of the season against Cagliari, a team where Astori began his professional career and played for six seasons.

Players from the Sardinian team on Saturday paid tribute to Astori by placing flowers outside the Artemio Franchi Stadium where hundreds of scarves, banners and drawings pay tribute to the former international.

AFP

Dybala Hat-Trick Stretches Juventus’ Lead In Serie A

Juventus’ Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala scores a penalty during the Italian Serie A football match Benevento Calcio vs FC Juventus on March 7, 2018, at the Ciro Vigorito Stadium in Benevento. Photo: CARLO HERMANN / AFP

 

Paulo Dybala scored a hat-trick, including two from the penalty spot, to extend Juventus’s lead at the top of Serie A with a 4-2 win at battling bottom club Benevento on Saturday.

The Turin giants moved a step closer to a seventh straight Italian title, four days before they travel to Real Madrid needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Juventus now lead second-placed Napoli, who travel to Chievo on Sunday, by seven points, as Roma’s 2-0 defeat at home to Fiorentina put their third place under threat from Inter Milan and Lazio, who play on Sunday.

Malian forward Cheick Diabate scored a brace to twice drag Benevento back into the game but the rock-bottom side fell to their 26th defeat in 31 games.

“Congratulations to the lads because today was important to win after the defeat against Real Madrid,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“There are seven games left and today it was too important.

“The feeling was that we were at risk, the same feeling I had against AC Milan (last week) when we conceded many shots for the first time in months.

“We’ve got to take every last drop of energy we’ve got left to go for the Scudetto, Italian Cup and of course the second leg in Madrid.”

Juventus’ Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala celebrates after scoring a penalty during the match 
CARLO HERMANN / AFP

 

Dybala — who will miss the trip to Madrid after being red-carded in the first leg — opened the scoring after quarter of an hour and got the second just before the break when he slotted in a penalty awarded after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR).

The 24-year-old completed his treble with a penalty after 74 minutes when Gonzalo Higuain was brought down in the box, before Douglas Costa added the fourth eight minutes from time with a magnificent curling effort.

‘Nothing to lose’

“It’s difficult against these sides who have nothing to lose,” said Dybala as Juventus allowed their rivals, who were 65 points below them before kick-off, back into the game.

Dybala broke through on 16 minutes when Juan Cuadrado knocked down the ball for the Argentine international to finish with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box.

But six minutes later Benevento were level after Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a Filip Djuricic effort only for Diabate to tap in the rebound.

Mario Mandzukic put the ball in the back of the Benevento net again after 36 minutes, finishing off a Cuadrado cross, but the goal was disallowed for handball.

The champions went into half-time ahead through Dybala’s first penalty after Berat Djimsiti’s foul on Miralem Pjanic.

Benevento were back level five minutes into the second half when Diabate rose higher than defender Medhi Benatia to head home a corner.

It was the 29-year-old’s fifth goal in five games for the club since joining the club in February.

But Dybala, who now has 25 goals in all competitions this season, put Juventus back in front again, before Costa sealed the three points.

Fiorentina shock Roma

Already reeling from their 4-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona in midweek, Roma’s spot in next year’s elite European competition is now under threat.

First-half goals from Marco Benassi and Giovanni Simeone stretched Fiorentina’s winning run to six games.

Tributes were paid before the game to Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, who died last month at the age of 31, and played for Roma in 2014-15.

Benassi gave the visitors the lead after seven minutes at the Stadio Olympico after a pinpoint Riccardo Saponara cross, with Simeone doubling their advantage five minutes before the break.

Edin Dzeko missed numerous chances to for Roma and Inter Milan can pass them when they visit Torino on Sunday.

Lazio can also move level with their Roman rivals when they travel to Udinese.

AFP