The not so young Italian will be celebrating his 30th Birthday in Brazil should Italy make the quarter finals of the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Alberto Aquilani made Prandelli's squad to go to Brazil and face a relatively difficult group. Italy is grouped with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica. Aquilani started his career at the age of 17 playing for Roma since his youth then moving to Liverpool before being loaned twice to Juventus & Milan to finally find himself alongside Valero and Pizarro achieving a great jump in performance and Serie A table position for the purple outfit. Although Aquilani was not at all convincing through out most of the season, he showed ability to score, play different positions and most importantly being a team player.
Aquilani may not have a wardrobe of trophies but the injury prone man was part of the right formation a few times winning Coppa Italian twice in 2007 and 2008, FIFA Confederations Cup third place and UEFA U-19 Championship in 2003. In his club career, the midfielder scored 38 goals from 354 matches. On the International level, Aquilani played 35 matches scoring 5 goals. Even though Aquilani was once a "Liverpool Flop" and was transferred to be part of Montella's team, I wish him the best performance and I wish him loads of luck with Rossi not around. Early Happy Birthday Aqua!.
Ante 'Play Time' Rebic
A late transfer in Summer 2013 saw a young Croatian join La Viola as a back up striker who pretty much failed to find any playing time due to repeated injuries through out the season. Ante Rebic was one of the strikers who fell under the purple striker injury curse. With no pressure at the last match in Serie A, Rebic was brought in the second half and showed this one how better than favored Brazilian Matos he could be. Arguments are made that Montella had no choice in fielding Matos numerous times this season as a striker where as he shines as winger. Regardless of Purple politics, Rebic made the world cup and it is only appropriate to say (Refer to Quattro Stelle first comment on the last statistics post) that Gonzalo, Borja, Savic and many others who played Thousands of minutes did not make the final cut.
Fortunate for Rebic and hopefully for Fiorentina if he brings some of that Torino match magic to Brazil. Ante was born in 1993 and will turn 21 this September. The future is only ahead of former RNK Split striker and current Croatian National team player who is one of the highlights in Fiorentina young boys. The Croatian scored 20 goals in 65 club appearances in his career. Rebic played 3 International matches scoring 1 goal in his debut match 3 minute after coming on the field. Croatia goes to Brazil to face the hosts, Mexicans and Roger Milla descendants. Ante Rebic might as well be the talk of the world cup as the stage is set for him and the remainder is for him to score; Right after the opening ceremony on 12th June, Croatia is going to play the first match of the World Cup against hosts Brazil. With the whole world watching, consider this your last match ever!
Barcelona Shortlisted Colombian Beast Juan "Vespa" Cuadrado
Words can do no justice for this one, and after the Rossi Omission from The Italian squad and regardless of Falcao's injury, Colombia seems the favorite to reach further among teams with Fiorentina players. Colombia is set to play against relatively weaker teams than Italy and Croatia. Cuadrado will have to face his InterMilan counterpart Nagatomo (Japan), Greece and Ivory Coast. Even though many may consider this a balanced group, I think Colombia has a great chance to advance to the round of 16 with rest in the last match.
Cuadrado is no stranger to not only Fiorentina fans but around the world since he has become shortlisted for a transfer to Barcelona. The 26 years old spent his last two years in Florence to bring up his club career goal tally to 25 in 172 Appearances. He also managed to score 3 goals Internationally. I will be a proud fan watching Cuadrado and sing along with every dribble "Cuad Es Fiorentina".
Rossi's omission from the squad in the last minute put almost all purple fans in a confusion state. Good old Prandelli who lead Fiorentina in the Chmapions League not long ago to lose against a strong Bayern Munchen side with a questionable goal and only left the club (for Mihajlovic and Delio Rossi) to look after the National Italian team. The confusion is also present because no Fiorentina fan will ever admit that any attacking player in the current Italian squad is even close to how good Pepito is. I am not one, but for Viola/Italy fans: I wish you luck and consider Prandelli innocent until proven guilty.