It’s been a long time since Sebastien Frey lurked between the Fiorentina sticks, but he remains one of the best Viola goalkeepers ever. He had everything you’d expect in such a robust custodian: strength, anticipation, technique, but his bulk also belied his unearthly quickness.
That’s not what we’re here to discuss today, though. We’re here to talk about Seba’s brilliantly unpredictable tonsorial choices. The sideburns, in particular, because they made him look like a taller, friendlier version of Wolverine.
And that got us thinking about superheroes and Fiorentina. After all, professional athletes are pretty much the closest comparison to superheroes that we get in real life. The prodigious physical talent. The investment of countless fans. The assignation of meaning that goes way beyond what’s actually visible. So let’s have a stroll through the ranks of recent and current Viola players and see what we can find, shall we?
Borja Valero ➡️ Professor X
It’s not just that they’re both bald. Both lack top-notch athleticism but overcome opponents with intellectual prowess rather than brute force, and they’re both undeniably good guys. I also like the idea of Sir Patrick Stuart portraying Borja at some point.
Milan Badelj ➡️ J’onn J’onzz (Martian Manhunter)
Neither is exactly glamorous, and you barely even notice them when they’re around. But they’re both versatile, talented, and criminally underrated by the casual fan. They’ve also both had long, unexplained absences: Badelj on the Lazio bench and J’onzz throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s as writers struggled to find him a place.
Federico Chiesa ➡️ Spiderman
Neither of these precocious youngsters asked to become teenagers who carry the hopes of an entire city, and yet here we are. They’ve both also learned various lessons about responsibility—although a dive in the box is a little bit different from letting a violent criminal escape—and they’re both big on family.
Marco Benassi ➡️ Venom
While the genial Italian midfielder doesn’t eat people as far as we know, he is, like Eddie Brock’s alter-ego, a little bit unpredictable. You’re never sure which Marco is going to show up, just as you can’t ever really tell which Venom you’ll get: one who’ll save an old lady from getting hit by a bus, or one who’ll attack an orphanage.
Jordan Veretout ➡️ Green Lantern
Both have a history of crashes in their origin stories, as the Frenchman was unable to keep West Ham from relegation while Hal Jordan’s ring was gifted to him by an alien who crash-landed on earth. But, more than that, it’s the versatility they both possess, as Veretout has operated, as various points in his Fiorentina career, as a holding midfielder, a mezzala, and a central box-to-box runner. Much like the Green Lantern, the only limit seems to be his imagination.
So who is it?
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