Imagine being 19 again. Now imagine being 19, living your formative years in the world’s most beautiful city, representing that city’s club and scoring goals for them. Yea, that isn’t such a bad thing now is it?
Carrying on the strong lineage of forwards playing for Fiorentina’s Primavera, including everyone’s favorite Fiorentina forward, Dusan Vlahovic, Samuele Spalluto is not only manning the helm for them, he is doing a damn good job of it. Standing at just over 6 feet 1 inches, Samuele is a hulk of a young man. He is that type of kid who when i was growing up if my buddies and I saw him across the field from us we would look at each other and just say “That kid is eating his Wheaties”. Now I don’t know what the Italian equivalent of Wheaties are, but whatever it is, Samuele is certainly buying them in bulk.
Now I am a sentimental guy, so when given the choice by the club to pick who our first interviewee would be this year I naturally picked Samuele Spalluto. When I was in Florence last in December of 2019 I had an opportunity to take in the Primavera game from the pitch, getting a few moments for pitch-side video and photos. A few players stood out in a 2-0 victory for the Fiorentina Primavera, the one who showed up most on the video was Samuele Spalluto. While Samuele didn’t record a goal, he did show tremendous skill and ability moving forward, holdup play and pressing. Postgame, Samuele was made available for interviews. Not speaking much Italian, I couldn’t ask any questions, so I just calmly took in the experience (One, two and three).
Samuele has now been with Fiorentina since 2017 after starting his career at a relatively older age. He wasn’t brought into the Fiorentina youth ranks with the acclaim of a Federico Chiesa or Dusan Vlahovic, but that is not a swipe at Samuele, Samuele is known as a hardworking, tough as nails kid who will find a way to succeed. Probably another reason why a guy from Philadelphia takes to him. Since gaining the confidence of the squad last year, Samuele scored 4 goals and had 1 assist in 21 games last year and already has seen 2 goals and 1 assist in the 3 Primavera games this year.
So rather than listening to me talking about this great young man, lets jump right into hearing from him.
ViolaNation Interview with Samuele Spalluto
ViolaNation - You didn’t grow up in Firenze nor Tuscany. How did you get from San Pietro Vernotico, a town in the province of Brindisi, to Fiorentina in Firenze?
Samuele Spalluto - San Pietro Vernotico is my native town, but the town where I live now is Trepuzzi, in the province of Lecce, so I feel like a Lecce. I arrived in Florence through the eyes of Pantaleo Corvino, who five years ago took me to Florence and after a few days of testing with the company he decided to sign me.
ViolaNation - At what age did you start playing soccer? At what age did you realize you were good enough to try and be a professional?
Samuele Spalluto - I started playing football in my country when I was 12. Before that, I practiced kick boxing and played soccer in the square of the town where I grew up. After a year I went to the Corvino Soccer Academy, a club for boys selected to play. After a year at the academy I went to Lecce. Here my dream became bigger and bigger, while continuing to play for passion, thinking about having fun, without thinking about what I would become. The following year I arrived in Florence and from there my adventure began.
ViolaNation - What is the thing that you like most about living in Firenze now? Do you have a favorite restaurant or gelateria?
Samuele Spalluto - Of course I enjoy being in Florence. the thing I like most is the moment when training comes. I take every workout as an opportunity to improve more and more and pursue that dream I have had since childhood. My hope is my desire will be able to make it happen.
My favorite gelateria is Badiani, also because I have lived in that area for years. It is a fairly well known one in Florence.
ViolaNation - What is the experience of living in Firenze like during a pandemic?
Samuele Spalluto - Florence is a fantastic city, one of the most beautiful in the world. So not being able to visit this city and not being able to enjoy it is a shame. Now, however, the most important thing is that the regulations given are respected, hoping that all this will end soon so that we can see the beauty of this city again.
ViolaNation - What is your favorite movie? Favorite band/musician?
Samuele Spalluto - My favorite film is “Goal”, by Santiago. I don’t have a favorite singer, but I do like to listen to music, especially when I’m traveling.
ViolaNation - I have seen a couple nicknames given to you online. Is there any one name that is your favorite? What is the story behind it?
Samuele Spalluto - I have had several nicknames but now my favorite is “el pipa”. This was born out of my strong admiration for Higuain and also because, by all accounts, I have a similar type of game to his.
ViolaNation - Last time I saw you was last December at the Gino Bozzi Stadium against Cagliari. Both you and the squad had a very good game. A 2 – 0 victory. Flash forward to this year, you had another very good game against Cagliari. Tell us about your two goal performance and how that felt? What clicked for you and the team?
Samuele Spalluto - They were two very good games, played well by the team. Personally, I am very happy for both games, more so for this year’s as I scored two goals. The team is of a high level, so I think that if we do what we know we can we will bring home a lot of satisfaction.
ViolaNation - What has it been like having Aquilani as a leader this year? What do you want to learn most from a prolific player like Alberto?
Samuele Spalluto - Having Aquilani as coach is an honor for all of us. He was a great player and from him we can learn a lot from.
ViolaNation - Who was your favorite player watching play as a kid? Who do you model your game after?
Samuele Spalluto - My favorite player has always been Cavani above all for the sacrifice and the desire he puts into it. I have always been inspired by Higuain growing up and watching his videos. [Since being in Florence] I began to take Batistuta, the great flag of this city, as an example.
ViolaNation - With the Primavera league being suspended until January 10th, 2021, what is the team doing to stay fit and keep your skills sharp?
Samuele Spalluto - Despite the championship being stopped, we continue to train to the maximum, working above all on our weak points, but with our heads already back on the pitch.
ViolaNation - What do you find yourself doing to pass the time other than training?
Samuele Spalluto - I am making a commitment to study English, as it is an important language and can be used both now and in the future.
ViolaNation - How eager is the squad to get back on the pitch?
Samuele Spalluto - We really want to get back to playing. We can’t wait to get back on the pitch to bring home what we deserve.
ViolaNation - What one thing do you need to work on most to make your way onto the first team?
Samuele Spalluto - There are many points to improve, because there is always something to improve. The thing I should improve the most is the nastiness in front of goal, especially being a first striker.
ViolaNation - Let’s talk about the best story Fiorentina have had under Rocco Commisso. How big of a moment was winning this year’s Coppa against Hellas Verona for you in your young career? What does it mean to the team to give both Rocco and Aquilani their first coppa at Fiorentina?
Samuele Spalluto - For me, winning the Italian Cup was an emotion that I will carry in my heart for a lifetime. It was a special experience that made us all happy. We are proud and happy to have brought the first trophy to the new club, to Mr. Aquilani and to all his staff. Soon there will be another final and I hope to bring another trophy to the club and to President Rocco Commisso, who has always supported us and has been close to us both in victories and in defeats, giving us precious help every time.
ViolaNation - What moment or moments will you always remember from this game and experience?
Samuele Spalluto - The victory itself is what is what I will always carry within me.
ViolaNation - What should our readers and all Fiorentina fans expect from Samuele Spalluto in the future?
Samuele Spalluto - Florence is a city that made me grow, so I hope one day to be able to give my contribution to the first team, to the fans and the readers.
Many thanks to Fiorentina and Samuele for this interview. Please make sure to give Samuele a follow on his Instagram page here.