We’ve gone through the goalkeepers and the centerbacks, so now it’s time to figure out who is Fiorentina’s greatest rightback. There aren’t as many options this time around, which may not surprise you considering that rightback has perhaps been this team’s greatest weakness over the past decade or more, but there’s no shortage of quality in the options that are present. As usual, I’ve defaulted to players who spent at least 4 years with Fiorentina and are generally best-known as Viola legends, which rules out a guy like Moreno Torricelli, although you’re free to vote for him in the comments.
1. Stefano Carobbi
Few players have three separate spells at a club, but that’s what the Pistoia-born Carobbi did. After working his way through the ranks at the Viola academy, he made his bow with the senior side in 1982 and played for 7 years before leaving for AC Milan, who sent him back to Florence in 1991. He stayed for another season as the club captain, but returned for a swan song in 1995 before retiring at (this is for you, Mike-R) Poggibonsi. Across his entire Viola career, he collected 206 appearances and 5 goals. Versatile enough to play on either side of the defense, he had the misfortune to play for the club in some of its most tumultuous years, so he never won any trophies. He was, however, a steady presence on the flank in those chaotic years. He’s also the current manager of ACF Women’s, which is surely worth some extra points as we figure this thing out.
2. Giancarlo Galdiolo
The defender (who passed away at the age of 69 in August) spent the entire decade of the 1970s with Fiorentina and was one of the oldest members of Ye-Ye. He was pretty much an automatic starter at rightback (or occasionally at sweeper) for his entire tenure, piling up 262 appearances. He chipped in 4 goals and was remarkably sent off just once, leading to his nickname of “the gentle giant.” He never captained the team because Claudio Merlo and Giancarlo Antognoni wore the armband during his time, but he did win the Coppa Italia and the Lega Italo-Inglese in 1975. If you have any more questions about his credentials as a legend, just take a look at the outpouring of respect from the club and fans upon his death.
3. Enzo Robotti
Despite coming of age in the Juventus academy, Robotti spent the vast majority of his career in Florence, earning 243 appearances for the Viola and even captaining the side from 1963 to 1965. He was a part of those brilliant squads in the late 1950s that finished Serie A runners up for three years in a row. Besides the Coppa Italia (1961), the Coppa dell’Amicizia (1959, 1960), and the Coppa delle Alpi (1961), he was instrumental in winning the inaugural Cup Winners’ Cup (later the UEFA League and the Europa League) in 1961, as well as a runner up finish in 1962. He also earned 15 caps for Italy and played every minute for the Azzurri in the 1962 World Cup, including the infamously dirty Battle of Santiago, which should tell you all you need to know about his grinta.
4. Tomáš Ujfaluši
When Fiorentina paid €7.5 million for the big Czech in 2004, they were hoping for a very good player. What they got instead was 4 years of prime Ujfa, and now he’s one of the first players you think of in those magical Cesare Prandelli teams. Although he frequently played in the middle for his other clubs and his country (for which he earned 78 caps), in Florence he was usually a rightback, and he took right to the role. He scored 2 goals and added 4 assists in his 149 appearances with the Viola, but it was his defensive work that really wowed everyone. For a big, strong central defender, he sure looked comfortable out on the right, facing down the paciest and trickiest attackers Serie A could throw at him and simply stonewalling them game in and game out. He wasn’t a dirty player, either, as his sterling disciplinary record—22 yellow cards and no red cards—demonstrates; rather, he was quick, smart, strong, and fearless. He was voted into the Fiorentina best-eve XI back in 2016 despite never winning any silverware with the club, and that should tell you exactly what you need to know about how we all felt seeing his locks flying as he snuffed out another attack.
Who is Fiorentina’s greatest-ever rightback?
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5. Another player I’ll name in the comments