At this time last year, Fiorentina had just limped over the finish line, avoiding relegation by playing out a shameful scoreless draw with Genoa that saw both of them stay up while dooming a brave Empoli side. The Della Valle brothers had openly put the club on the market and we were just waiting for further news about the buyer; we’d heard that Qatari PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi had made an offer, as had some Italian-American guy named Rocco Commisso about whom I knew pretty much nothing. Regardless, though, we expected an exodus of the few talented players and another relegation scrap the following season.
One year later and the Viola seem to be on the cusp of something very exciting. Rocco has spent a lot of money—including the club’s biggest-ever January outlay—and has injected the once-moribund outfit with an energy we hadn’t seen since Cesare Prandelli was prowling the touchlines. Some high profile signings, combined with higher profile retention of stars, has the arrow pointing up. So does the ongoing work on a new stadium, which seems like it could maybe actually happen at some point.
The team, though, hasn’t quite come along as some might have wanted. 13th place isn’t exactly a return to the lofty heights of years past, and the slowness to sack a clearly overmatched Vincenzo Montella (as well as replacing him with promotion expert Giuseppe Iachini) raised a few eyebrows.
But that’s really it. It really seems to us that Rocco’s made just about no mistakes over this first year of his Viola stewardship, and that’s not just because he took time out to talk with us. It feels like he’s really made an effort to build a sustainable project, whether that’s his quest for a new arena or his serious investment young players (Fiorentina still have the youngest squad in Serie A). Even more, he’s sounded off against Juventus, showed up at training and matches for the men, women, and youth teams, sung with the fans, and basically made himself the most popular dude in Florence.
What grade will you give Rocco for his first year in charge?
This poll is closed
Here’s your weekend thread. Stay loose, yall.