Happy Monday, mateys. Our story resumes with the good ship Viola becalmed in international waters after a successful raid on Sampdoria confirmed what we all knew: this Fiorentina crew is the most salt-bearded gang of sea-dogs to ever pillage Serie A. Behind the swashbuckling, shiny-headed exploits of BorjAAAARRR Valero, the devastating if unreliable fusillades of bombardier Josip Ilicic, and the no-quarter-given ferocity of Nobeard, also known as Facundo Roncaglia (fun fact: Facundo doesn't shave; he drives his stubble back into and through his cheeks with a hammer and bites it off), these ruthless buccaneers are feared across the peninsula.
Okay, so it should be painfully obvious by now that I come from a landlocked city and know nothing about matters nautical or piratical. I do think that the theme is bang on, though, given that Fiorentina have been putting opponents to the sword and that there is, if not a mutiny, than a change in leadership, as Gonzalo Rodriguez takes over the captaincy from the long-serving Manuel Pasqual. While no one will argue that the young defender Gonzalo Rodriguez is a deserving recipient of the armband due to his passion, leadership, and importance, some people (me) are slightly miffed that Manny's had his spot revoked.
And this is the real problem with the break, if you don't have any skin in the international matches: the topics of discussion turn matters so minutely trivial as to scarcely be visible during the regular state of affairs. As fans, we're not the fearless pirates; we're the Robinson Crusoes who are stuck on an island and hanging onto any scrap of calcio that comes our way, hoping desperately for rescue and reprieve from our isolation. Until then, it's a formless, changeless haze of palm frond huts and long days at the beach and beautiful sunsets that you don't have to share with anyone else. Huh. Maybe this castaway thing isn't so bad. Now if only there were a TV to catch that Empoli game.
This kitty accurately describes my feeling about these breaks.
For a two-week break, there's sure been a lot of news coming out. Let's start with Mati Fernandez finally signing an extension. Hooray Matigol!
And speaking of contracts, Vincenzo Montella has signed on as the new boss of Sampdoria. Here's how we feel about that.
Next, here is a progress report on all the players Fiorentina has loaned out. Required reading for serious Football Manager players.
Sticking with the Fiorentina-players-with-other-teams topic, here is how the first round of international games went for la Viola on national duty.
Finally, if you've ever wanted to get into the glamorous world of blogging, here's your chance: Viola Nation is looking for new writers. Go here to apply, because we'd love to have you.
Here is an excellent Fiorentina-centric primer on the aforementioned international games.
Here are your goal-of-the-season-thus-far candidates. Vote on your favorite.
And check out Huw's brilliant troll-job about why Fiorentina won't win Serie A, because it is a true work of art.
Comment of the week
Always a red-letter day when we hear from the elusive and mysterious MiQ, who used to be a writer here at VN.
One more round of international games, then it's onto the Tuscan derby against Empoli on Sunday. Leave your favorite pirate jokes in the comments. Forza Viola.