I wanted to take a moment to dive the comments of Nicolas Burdisso three weeks ago. I get it, I’ve been quiet for a bit and this may be old news, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have something to say on it.
Burdisso, Fiorentina’s Technical Director, did an interview with La Nacion, one of Argentina’s largest news publications on November 2nd. In the interview Burdisso went into many topics covering his own career, current state of River Plate, many up and coming Argentina stars, including those with Fiorentina, Luca Martinez Quarta and Nicolas Gonzalez. He also name-dropped Julián Álvarez, which we discussed at the time, but there was enough in there that it’s worth going back to look again.
I think it is fair to say that Burdisso has been a breath of fresh air for Fiorentina. He reopened our global scouting and recruiting and revisited a very natural breeding ground for Fiorentina historically in Argentina. Nico Gonzalez gave him plenty of praise as a determining factor in pushing through a move to Fiorentina over more lucrative deals. He has also been credited as someone who many younger players have been able to turn to for advice and support in their own professional careers. He is what Fiorentina needed when Fiorentina needed it the most.
What I want to focus on was Nicolas’s brutal honesty when he gave this response to a question about Fiorentina’s best Argentina players ever, “Both [Nico Gonzalez and LMQ] have great potential to take the team to the top but the problem is that we don’t know how long we will be able to keep them in Florence. Unfortunately”. In several of the Whatsapp chats I have with different fans and Viola Club groups this comment rubbed many fans the wrong way. I understand why. Who wants to see an executive inside of the club say something like this? After all, we just got Nico in June and LMQ last October. They are still infants in Fiorentina years.
Burdisso has a great reputation inside of Argentina, South America and Europe. With his reputation he also bring a lot of respect. Add me to that list respecting him. I found his comments both honest and refreshing. Burdisso gets it. The landscape has changed. Clubs no longer make decisions. Owners have very little pull. Fans? Players celebrate with them in one moment and then ditch them the next. Modern day football isn’t about what can a player do for the club, its much more about what can the club do for the player, and in many circumstances, what can the club do for the player’s agent.
Burdisso is also aware of what most fans have painfully known for years. Despite being in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, we are not a destination for football’s elite. Despite a great first half of the season and making football fun again for Viola fans, we are not a destination for football’s elite.
The city of Florence and a bunch of historians from outside of the country have successfully prevented Rocco from building a brand new, state of the art stadium that would have made Fiorentina a destination. While fans of the club get goosebumps every time they enter the Franchi, that doesn’t happen to professional footballers unless your name is Lorenzo Venuti. The Franchi undoubtedly has ghosts in its halls. They may even play late at night when no one is there to see them, but it has no aesthetic or economic value to ACF Fiorentina, its stated purpose for construction. Fiorentina has also not found success on the pitch for several years, having not been to Europe in five years. Europe is a huge part of what attracts great players, bringing with it esteem, visibility and additional revenue streams.
When I look back at Burdisso’s comment I don’t take any offense to it. Instead, I see someone who is in tune to today’s game and Fiorentina’s position in it. That means one of a few things regarding Buridisso that I don’t think anyone has talked about much. Buridsso is a smart guy. He knows who Fiorentina has recently been and who we are today. We are a club who has great players only for a short period of time before we lose them. That could be the same thing for a very good football mind like his too. Is his intent to use Fiorentina as a leap pad for his next “better” opportunity or to build us back up on his hard work, relationships, and ingenuity? This is the most important question in my opinion.
The first possibility in that scenario requires no thought. Fiorentina fans know what that looks like. Can Burdisso get what he wants out of the next phase of his football life here at Fiorentina? A place that holds no memories tied to his playing days. A place where his only connection to the job was Daniele Prade. This is something I focus in on. I will argue that keeping Burdisso is as important as keeping Dusan. He knows what is needed to compete. He knows what players today care about. He is connected to many of the top agents and can network as good as anyone else. Lastly, he isn’t afraid to speak the truth, which at times is exactly what is needed.
Today Fiorentina is a team that does need to worry about just how long they can keep great talents like Chiesa and Vlahovic and Nico Gonzalez and LMQ. That could all change by empowering an agent inside of Fiorentina who promotes positive change and an investment in players who get Fiorentina back to Europe. Fiorentina has done a great job to make us all believe again. An empowered Burdisso is important to continue this for many more years to come.