Now that it’s just us here, I’m going to tell you a secret that I would prefer you not tell anyone else, particularly SB Nation, because it could get me in some hot water. Nobody else is listening, and you’re not wearing a wire, right? Nah, you’re cool, I’m not even gonna bother to check. Anyways, here’s the secret: I am a terrible manager.
I know, I know, it’s really surprising. How could someone who’s so insufferable about late Renaissance and early Baroque painting, or about fart-sniffingly prestigious literature, or golden age Roman poetry be bad at, like, interfacing with people? While it may strain your credulity, you have to believe me. I mean, I wouldn’t have taken all the risks in bringing you here and telling you this stuff if it wasn’t true.
I’ve done some managing, too. I managed a coffee shop when I was 19, and I was (brace yourself for a seismic shock) terrible at it. Scheduling employees and reporting to the owner and fixing all the unbelievably dumb things that customers decided were wrong—which, if you’ve ever worked in customer service, you know that it’s the damn customers who are wrong, not anything else—these are all things at which I am objectively bad. I ran a construction crew for awhile in my early 20s and was similarly hopeless; why try to explain to some goober-ass dude why he can’t nail something directly into a roof or hook up a bunch of wires without a breaker when you can just get in there and do it yourself?
Why am I spilling this secret? Well, it’s because I think we probably ought to give a bit more credit to Stefano Pioli. Yeah, his tactics may not be what we (I) want, but managing a bunch of super-talented young men who’ve spent the majority of their lives being told that they deserve everything they have because they’re great has to be the least enjoyable job on the planet sometimes. I mean, can you imagine having to tell that he’s going to be on the bench until the heat death of the universe because under no circumstances will you see him lumber up the pitch and camp out by the corner flag before losing the ball again? I know we rag on ol’ Cyril quite a bit around here, but the dude is probably in the top 0.00000007ish percent of footballers on the entire planet, and telling him that he’s even worse than, say, Gil Dias is not an easy task.
I’ve never played a sport professionally; I topped out as a small-college American football player before quitting. I got an offer to join a semi-pro soccer team a couple years ago and turned it down on the grounds that running a lot and not drinking beer are a poor exchange for dropping a career and a couple hundred bucks a month. But I know people who’ve gone pro in a few different sports, and they’re all crazy competitive and convinced that they’re capable of at least doing a little bit more than the guy ahead on the depth chart.
So here’s to you, Stefano. Your starting lineups and substitution patterns make me want to tear my hair out, and watching your Fiorentina play is occasionally equivalent to gouging out my eyes with a billiards cue, but you somehow still get the most out of these kids (Théréau’s the only dude on the roster older than I am now) and keep them ready, week in and week out, to do their jobs. Compared to managing all of these massive and fragile egos, telling Marco Benassi to stand 10 yards to the right must not seem like all that much, and that’s a testament to you.
Nothing’s official yet, but we’re keeping an eye on what happens with Milan Badelj; it doesn’t look especially good for the Viola.
In slightly more encouraging news, Fiorentina could end up qualifying for the Europa League despite the late-season meltdown due to a bunch of financial problems at AC Milan.
Replacing Marco Sportiello with Alex Meret isn’t quite that easy, and here’s why.
We put together the best-named XI in Fiorentina’s history. Have a look.
Here is our review of how the Fiorentina goalkeepers did this year.
Here is why we think Stefano Pioli is alright.
Remember that review of the goalkeepers we mentioned, like, two lines above this? We did one for the centerbacks too.
Gaetano Castrovilli sure looks like a star, but his fellow loanees in Serie B didn’t fare so well. Get the full scoop here.
Because we’re eternal pessimists here at VN, we asked yall which youngster you’d rather sell for megabucks, and you answered.
If you were a rightback in Florence this year, you didn’t have a memorable campaign. Have a look at our ratings.
You know who did have a great year? All the writers at this site. And to prove it, we’ve got our season-ending review from the staff for you to peruse.
Wanna know about Viola leftbacks? We’ve got ya right here.
Who would be the toughest player in the squad to deal with?
This poll is closed
Nikola Milenković because he is so goddamn large that telling him to do anything other than exactly what he is doing is simply terrifying.
Federico Chiesa is already so talented that telling him to change things is like telling Leonardo that the Virgin of the Rocks is maybe a bit too pale.
Cyril Théréau just doesn’t listen. HE DOESN’T LISTEN.
I mean, if you really wanted Cholito to stop running around like a maniac and maybe play with a bit more consideration, that’d probably end up badly for you.
"Maxi, just stay in front of him. Don’t dive into the tackle, just stay in front... oh goddammit."
Comment of the week
Sometimes I worry that ThePrezDugan doesn’t value Fiorentina’s star players enough.
That’s it for this week, folks. Try to exfoliate a little bit better, especially on your shoulders.