WE heard it for years. Emiliano Viviano would love to play for his home town squad, Fiorentina. In fact, we heard it SO often that it became a little irritating, if he wanted to play here so much, why not make it happen. The situation just never seemed favorable and he always seemed a long way away.
He started as a player in the Fiorentina youth program, becoming a Viola fan for life as he stayed for three years before moving on to Brescia, where he would move up to the Senior team. He was loaned to Cesena, played at Bologna before being purchased by Inter, where he never played a match. In fact, he's constantly been plagued with half ownerships and loans since Inter bought his rights in 2009.
Inter sold half of his contract to Genoa in August of 2011, although he stayed with the Inter squad due to injury. In January of 2012, Palermo bought Genoa's half of his contract, where he would play in 20 matches.
Last Summer, the rumors started hot and heavy, Emiliano wanted to come to Firenze!.
After several weeks of jockeying, negotiations, obstructions by Inter, Palermo managed to purchase Viviano's other half and sent him to la Viola, albeit with a hefty price tag to redeem him for the following season.
Emiliano started out strong enough, winning 8 and drawing 5 in his first 16 matches, but the squad hit a rough spot, giving up 4 goals in two draws, to Torino and Sampdoria and 4 goals in a drubbing by AS Roma and Viviano found himself on the bench behind youngster Neto.
Neto won his first two matches and looked to have relegated the veteran to the bench, but a poor start, not only by the young goalie, but by the whole team starting the second half of the season saw Viviano get another chance and he didn't waste it.
Viviano won 11 and drew once in the last sixteen games, leading Fiorentina to 4th place in the league, a return to the Eurpoa League and just missed leading them to the Champions League. Overall he won 19 matches, drew 6 and only lost 7. He also had 12 clean sheets for the season.
Being interviewed this week, Viviano was quoted saying, "In spite of everything I'll never forget this season: I'm glad to have brought Fiorentina to Europe. My best season? Surely this will remain as the most beautiful of my career.''
Sadly, as Calcio is now a business first, choices have to made according to a balance sheet and management must adhere to the bottom line and the price tag put on Viviano by Palermo makes it problematic for the team to keep the home town boy, but he, and us as well, now have the memories of Emiliano in a Viola kit.