Hello, fellow capolista fans. We're going to celebrate Borja Valero today, because 1) we should celebrate Borja every day, and 2) numerical synchronicity is cool. So, we'll kick it off here with some Borja Valero facts and stories. Please add onto this trove of Valero-lore in the comments.
Borja's Instagram and Twitter, along with his wife Rocío's Twitter, belong to the best Florentine power couple since whichever pairing of Borgias you want to name. Los Valero could easily run for and win public office in Florence because they're consistently the most entertaining and thoughtful public figures in the city, and because oh my god look how adorable they and their kids are.
The cue-ball headed midfielder has been in fine form on the pitch, as well, adapting to Paulo Sousa's system and becoming its chief representative. Although last season was rather an off year by the player's lofty standards, he's once again become the heartbeat of the team, gliding around the pitch and sliding the ball into the attacking third with his usual elegance. While Nikola Kalinic, Josip Ilicic, and Khouma Babacar have been banging in the goals and (deservedly) making the headlines, it's been Borja who's unfussily put them in the position to do so.
And sometimes he does this. Check out the 14-pass move leading up to the Marcos Alonso cross, which Borja was also involved in.
Of course, if you prefer to see him pants Sergio Busquets en route to an assist, he's got you covered there, too.
As you might expect from such a thoughtful footballer, he's got a lot to say about the game itself, as well. Check out this interview, in which he discusses the unfathomable pressure of being a part of Real Madrid's youth system (How dumb do they feel for letting him go now? They had a Merengue version of Iniesta and cut him loose instead of bringing him along.); or this one, about what it means to be a professional athlete in the grander scheme of things; or this one, about Michael Jordan and hitchhiking in Morocco and parenthood and death. Dude is sharp.
Watch this space, because in exactly fifty-two weeks, you can expect a Josip Ilicic edition here, as well as a complimentary coupon for a landscaping equipment haircut. Until then, enjoy Borja. He's bald and calming, kind of like this guy.
Finally, we don't usually dignify clickbait with a response, but the English media think that Khouma Babacar is a target for Liverpool and Tottenham. Here is our rebuttal.
Sampdoria must want some of that Fiorentina magic, because they're rumored to be in the hunt for the services of Vincenzo Montella. Here are the details.
Remember when we thought Paulo Sousa would bring a less possession-based style of play? Yeah, uh, maybe we were a little off the mark. Fiorentina are keeping the ball at a historic rate. Numbers here.
Comment of the week
Not as many recs, since it came from the Sampdoria match thread, but Johnny Bee's refusal to turn down sums up the mood in the office right now.
That's it for this week. Share your favorite Borja moments and facts in the comments. Shout out to James of Melbourne for suggesting something like this in the comments a couple weeks ago. Forza Viola, forza capolista.