Giovanni Simeone might count himself a lucky man for any number of reasons, but perhaps the most recent addition to the list is that Fiorentina just beat Empoli. The media focus, therefore, has mostly orbited the narrative that the Viola won their first match after 9 straight without a victory, which is significant for a team many pundits picked as a dark horse for the Champions League this year. Had the club not snapped such a streak of futility here, all anyone would be talking about is Cholito’s celebration after scoring the go-ahead goal against the Azzurri.
After nodding home Cristiano Biraghi’s exquisite cross just before the hour mark, Simeone peeled off to celebrate in front of the Curva with his finger in front of his lips. Shushing the fans is always a bold move from a footballer; from a striker who, until a tap-in the previous week against Sassuolo, was goalless in his previous 10 appearances, it provoked a tempest in a teacup amongst the Viola faithful. Not surprisingly, we got some pretty hot takes on Twitter and elsewhere about etiquette and all that.
Here’s the thing, though. While shushing your own fans is generally kind of dumb, particularly when you’ve been demonstrably bad for awhile, it’s not unforgivable by any stretch. Let’s contextualize this: Cholito is 23 years old, struggling with the worst form of his brief professional career, and obviously under a lot of stress. Firing your side into the lead in a derby is exactly the sort of situation that will make a man, particularly a young and wholehearted man, lose his head a bit with the celebrations.
And, after the match had finished (and his feelings had presumably had time to settle a bit), he apologized to the fans for the gesture. Sure, his explanation—that he was anxious due to his house being burgled (which, yeah, that sucks) and due to a tough two months—is maybe a bit absurd, but he recognized the mistake and owned up to it. If he starts hushing the Curva after every goal (and again, his record is 1 goal every 4 matches, so it’s not like it’d be that often), then yeah, I can see the problem. But if it’s this one time, cut the guy some slack. He’s young, he’s emotional, and he didn’t hurt anyone. The only real negative outcome is that now we have to read more stupid rumors about Diego Simeone finally preparing to bring his son to Atletico Madrid as the rift between the latter and the fans widens.
Yeah, Cholito definitely got caught up in the moment with his celebration and lost his head a bit. He apologized. For everyone else who’s still mad, well, you’ve had more than two days to settle down. Maybe you’re the ones who need to consider whether or not your emotions are running a little bit wild.