Probably the best known of these three players, "Gambit" was a talented and reliable center back who spent seven years with Fiorentina, wearing the armband for his final year with the club after Ricardo Montolivo (boo hiss) was stripped of the captaincy. Although he was never a regular international--only eight caps--he was one of the better central defenders in Serie A for the better part of a decade, strong in the tackle and in the air, and with a surprising turn of pace. His brace against Torino in 2007 comprised his first and second professional goals. He made 225 appearances in total for Fiorentina, scoring 8 goals (and only receiving 30 yellow and 2 red cards) and notching an assist, as well. He was also named Fiorentina's player of the season in 2008.
The post-Prandelli years have been pretty blah for Gamberini. Sold to Napoli in 2012 along with Valon Behrami for a combined 8.5 million euros, he never fit in well to the Partenopei's three-man backline, making just 30 appearances over two seasons, then was loaned to Genoa in 2013 and sold to Chievo Verona in 2014. He's been unable to nail down a regular starting gig there, too, making 22 appearances since joining. Now 34 years old, we wish him success with Chievo and with whatever he chooses to do after he retires (which could be sooner rather than later).
The Italian winger signed for Fiorentina in 2007 for 7.3 million euros from Chievo, where he'd been a standout for four years. A classic wide player, he tended to hug the touchline rather than come inside, and was as happy to get in behind his marker as he was to dribble at him. His crossing provided innumerable chances for Alberto Gilardino. While he lacked the skill of fellow winger Mario Santana, he was pacier and steadier than the Argentinean, as well as a good deal faster. He ended up playing 55 games for Fiorentina, scoring 4 goals and adding 7 assists. He was also won three caps for Italy.
He was shipped to Sampdoria in 2009 for 4 million euros and was a first team regular there until 2012, when he moved to Vicenza in Serie B for a year. 35 years old, he's still playing professionally with ASD Chieri Calcio in Serie D. To answer the question most of you have, yes, he does still appear to have the facial hair that resembles a Sharpie line down the center of his chin. There's something comforting about Franco existing outside of time, still churning up and down the wing, still with that atrocious little goatee, that makes me happy, as if he's perfectly preserved his self from nine years ago. I hope he can keep it up forever.
I've always had a soft spot for the Gobbi. He was born in Milan, but overcame this obstacle to become an outstanding squad player. He joined Fiorentina from Cagliari in 2006 for 4.3 million euros, and scored his debut goal for the club against Juventus in 2007. He platooned at left-back with Manuel Pasqual; while il Capitano's crossing was greatly superior, Gobbi was the better defender and the more energetic of the two (and also possessed a superior goal celebration). He was the player unjustly dismissed after Arjen Robben's heinous dive in the Champion's League, too. In all, he made 111 appearances in purple, scoring twice and tallying 7 assists.
In 2010, Gobbi joined Parma on a Bosman and quickly established himself as the first choice left-back. While he did manage to get booked 10 times in 33 games last season, he'd held down his position for five years when Parma entered bankruptcy (please come back, we miss you) and was released. He opted to sign for Chievo Verona, where, at 34 years old, he's already settled in as a starter. I don't know why I always liked him so much. Maybe because he seemed like a hard-working, head-down guy. Maybe because the cosmic injustice of his dismissal against Bayern bestowed the sympathy of the persecuted upon him. Maybe because his corner flag guitar-shredding was too good. No matter the reason, good on you, Gobbi, for Gobbing along, and may you continue for as long as you damn well please.