The stage is set. World class. On a platter. Tough. The "script." Brave. It's there for the taking. Tradition. You couldn't ask for a better set up. Beatable. World class players. Atmosphere. "Big. Team." Comeback. Revenge. Turnaround. New project. Intensity.
These were likely some of the impressive words and phrases swirling around in newspapers and television studios around Italy ahead of the big Fiorentina - AC Milan match up on Sunday night, an inauguration to what was supposed to be a real nice "test" match for the big bad new Milan under big bad Sinisa Mihajlovic.
But, as has often been the case in 8 of the last 9 match ups, the Viola managed to make the rossoneri look not just ordinary, but impotent. Money can buy you lots, but not team spirit and a style of play, and that's something this Fiorentina nucleus has coming out of its proverbial ears.
So naturally the Universe has decided to punish a victorious Viola in the way it always will: in the summer transfer window. One of its most beloved players - and the one most responsible for the last Milan loss in Florence - has leaft a teary "let me leave" interview with fan media expressing how unhappy he is in Florence, and how he needs to move immediately to his boyhood club. Curse you Universe. Curse you Universe. Curse you Narrative.
Because Narrative - oh you cruel deity, Narrative - has been particularly fickle this summer. First the "glorious manager raising us up" disappeared after a dramatic fireball of public relations, and then our "accidental diamond in the rough" found the weirdest and longest way possible to say "bye chumps!" And then there were all the goodbyes. Juan Vargas, Mario Gomez, David Pizarro... even Alberto Aquilani! I didn't know I cared so much Principino!
And so Narrative met up one final time with the Witch Doctor Who Lives Underneath the Franchi (TM) after the Milan game and found the one trickiest trick remaining in the book of tricks. And promptly began tricking.
They got Joaquin (more like DramaQueen, amirite heeheehee) to get into Narrative's shiny sports car, and drive Narrative the way we wished all our players would, except in our favor: through the story of the player-fan who can't imagine playing anywhere else.
I don't know why they are doing this to me. I have given everything for the Viola shirt. I want to go home. I just want to be happy. I can't play anywhere else but Betis.
Well you know what Narrative? You know what Witch Doctor (TM)? You can't take away how well the team played last night, or how good it felt. This is another low blow, yes, but this is a fan base who suffered Roberto Baggio leaving in his pomp. Against his will. Oh and Gabriel Batistuta, and Manuel Rui Costa, and countless others too, who were better than Joaquin and loved us more to boot. So we'll be fine. The team? Ehhhh...
So even though the mercato continues to punish us fans through its cunning use of feelings, cliffhangers, and shoddy character development - and punishing the team by leaving them with fewer good players - Fiorentina aren't the ones bringing on Antonio Nocerino when down by two goals. As long as the stuff on the field keeps looking as good as it did on Sunday, then we will only gripe about the cruelty of the cosmos for so long. Here's hoping.
Fiorentina signed someone! Take that transfer window awfulness! Uruguayan starlet Jaime Baez is expected in town Wednesday for a medical.
Transfer window awfulness storms back with confirmations that Juan Cuadrado is joining Juventus on loan.
In case you missed our recap of the 2-0 defeat of Milan only yesterday, or just want to rewatch Marcos Alonso's stonking free kick, the recap is here.
The new "Where Are They Now" series is quite fun and a new piece will be coming out soon. Read the first edition here.
Even though the Serie A season has now kicked off, there is still some to be gleaned from the SB Nation Serie A Preview as well as our own epic preview. Also, not many of you liked my terrible Cymbeline joke in the poll and now you will all be punished.
Fiorentina have a woman's team now, and that's really really cool.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
From the first rumor of Joaquin leaving, Tomas 500 with an absolute thunderbastard of a pun:
Honorable mention to the Taken references in the Fiorentina - Milan match report:
Forza Viola everyone, here's to a wonderful first day of the new season, and to the drama ending soon!