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Jakub Błaszczykowski's presentation and introductory press conference

The man they call Kuba was formally introduced to the press today, shaking hands, posing for photos, and fielding questions.


After losing once-beloved winger Joaquin, Fiorentina fans were gloomy at best about the quality and depth of the wide attackers. However, the arrival of Jakub "Kuba" Błaszczykowski assuaged many of those fears, as the veteran Pole is an undeniably talented player. At 1:00 PM local time, he began his introductory press conference at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

I'm Błaszczykowski, and it's hard to say who I look like.
Jakub Błaszczykowski

Kuba started with the typical thanks to Fiorentina for bringing him, expressing his excitement to try out Serie A and just to be playing again in general, adding that he feels fully recovered from his injuries last year, that the knee injury led to muscular issues and pretty much tanked his season. He feels that he'll fit right into the slower, more tactically aware Italian league just fine, in part due to the games he's played against Italian teams, along with the obligatory (though possibly true) "I followed Serie A as a kid," and also thanked the Fiorentina tifosi for the warm welcome.

Then, he got to the interesting stuff. About his role, he gave the stock "it's up to the coach" answer, but added that in the modern game, it's important to defend and attack together. When asked if he saw himself more as more of a Robben or a di Livio, he cheekily answered, "I'm Błaszczykowski, and it's hard to say who I look like," although he did add that he felt more like an attacking player than a defending one.

Sticking with the theme of Fiorentina players, he touched on his acquaintance with la Viola's Rafal Wolski, who's on loan at Belgian club Mechelen with an option to buy: "He's a great player, but he needs more time," before adding that he himself is hoping to reclaim his spot for Poland at the Euros. Sticking with the theme of Poles in purple, he reported seeing lots of comments on his Facebook page and expects a strong Polish following for Fiorentina.

On a more personal level, he added that his knowledge of Italian is rather limited: "'buonasera' and 'forza Viola.'" He added that he plans to start working on the language as soon as possible, and also plans to return to the Vatican--where he already made a stop--with his wife and daughter to pay respects to the Polish pope Wojtyla. When asked about Fiorentina's history, he responded that he immediately associated the club with Gabriel Batistuta. Also, apparently Kuba met Sousa pre-Fiorentina, when the Portuguese was observing Dortmund's practices, although apparently they didn't talk about a move then.

So here's this guy who's seen unspeakable tragedy and who's just happy to be here and to play. I really want Kuba to have a long and fruitful career in Florence (or at least one that brings him and his family happiness), and I imagine even the most hardened purple hearts want the same. So welcome to Florence, Kuba; we hope you stick around and regain your previous form, and that everything works out as well for you as it does for the team.