Lost amidst all the jubilation about the rebirth at Fiorentina (we will cut anybody that makes the endlessly tired “Florentine Renaissance” joke) is the fate of some of the best-known figures at the club. While the Della Valle brothers have their billions to assuage their disappointment at losing the Viola, some of the back office stalwarts don’t. We’re talking, of course, about former DS Pantaleo Corvino, who was just replaced rather unceremoniously by Daniele Pradè. And you’d better believe that the Crow is plenty grouchy about it.
Speaking to the Corriere dello Sport’s Ivan Zazzaroni by phone, Corvino let loose all his feelings about his treatment by the new regime. As reported by ViolaNews.com (here, here, and here), the 69-year-old pulled no punches in discussing his bitterness about the club he spent a decade at.
Some of his complaints have some merit, too. He claims not have been told about Commisso’s ongoing acquisition of the Viola until the final week of the season, which one can easily see being a bit unfair to the man tasked with running football operations. He also seems convinced that Commisso and company never had any intention of giving him a fair chance to earn his job, which is probably true but is also the reality of a corporate takeover, especially for a long-tenured figure with deep connections to the previous owner. He also mentions that his first exit from Florence was due to his mother’s illness rather than any questions about his fitness for the position; if true, that’s a bit rough, although it’s also not something he can pin on Commisso.
However, Corvino quickly descended into the bitter reminisces, whining about his successes with Fiorentina: “4 Champions League qualifications, 54 matches in Europe with only 8 defeats, 5 Italian titles at youth level, Luca Toni’s Golden Boot” are all fine achievements, but not enough to sustain a club nearly a decade later. Of his more recent tenure, he spoke at length about how he’d cut costs at the club, which was one of the greatest criticisms he received and thus feels like him missing the point entirely.
I’m not going to reproduce the whole thing, because it’s just not a good look for Corvino. He spends a lot of time firing shots at his “enemies in Florence,” “those who wanted to be the director,” “the agents of those [players] whom he didn’t help,” “those who had been fired by Fiorentina,” and finally “those people who every day have a microphone in their hand.”
It’s disappointing that the man who brought beloved players like Stevan Jovetić, Adrian Mutu, Luca Toni, and Alberto Gilardino to this team has so much vitriol towards it now. What’s sadder, though, is that he sounds completely unable to understand why he was relieved of his duties; when your big buys in a year are Marko Pjaca, Kevin Mirallas, Gerson, and Edi Fernandes, you’ve not exactly proven that you still have the knack and need to be kept around
When Corvino sweatily insists, “Believe me...I wanted this divorce,” it’s nothing but a beaten man trying to mask his hurt. When he shrills that his decision to leave (not Commisso’s, mind you) was, for him, “an economic bloodbath, but that dignity and a sense of responsibility have a price,” it’s too easy to laugh at him. It’s sad to see the old warhorse, confused and injured, put out to pasture when everyone but him can see that he’s unable to carry on.
Pantaleo Corvino isn’t done. He still feels that he “has so much to give” and is likely to pop up at another club soon. The smart money is on Lecce, which just achieved promotion to Serie A and have been linked to a move for him for the past couple weeks. So he may not be done, but we really wish he were. That way, it’d be a lot easier to remember him as the smiling, enigmatic genius who brought so much joy and magic to Fiorentina, rather than as Willy Loman: a figure who’d be comic if he weren’t tragic as he approaches the end of a career.