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BatiGol Weekly: Bankrobber

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In which we discuss heists, crews, and how to get Fiorentina a trophy.

2017 Radio Disney Music Awards
He just loved to live that way, and he loved to steal your money.

This may come as a shock to you, as you’re probably supporting Fiorentina for the sheer reflected glory that such an association can bring you, so brace yourself. It’s been 20 years since the club won its last domestic trophy—a Coppa Italia over Parma—and 52 since the last Scudetto. While the Serie C2 trophy is fine and the Trofeo Costa del Sol outranks anything else, it’s been a bit too long.

That’s not for lack of trying, of course, with 2014’s Coppa Italia coming so close before slipping away, at least in part due the terrifying atmosphere following the shooting of Napoli fan Ciro Esposito. What’s clear, though, is that playing by the rules hasn’t worked for Fiorentina. The team’s tried everything: fresh new players, established world stars, big-name managers, unknown managers, and everything in between, with heartbreak the only result.

If the club can’t grab a trophy by legal means, then, it’s time to steal one. No, I don’t mean by paying the referees; this isn’t Juventus, after all. No, what I’m advocating for is a covert mission to break into whatever vault the FIGC and Serie A keep their silverware in, the sort of light caper that keeps the cash rolling in for Steven Soderbergh.

And with a group of tremendous athletes in peak physical condition, you’ve got an incredible pool of candidates for your heist crew. Sure, there’s no roguish Jurj Clooners to lead them and maybe you’d like to see a bit more professional thieving backgrounds, but the potential is absolutely there. Let’s run through the roster, shall we?

Let’s start with Germán Pezzella, who’s definitely the down-on-his luck leader of the group who realizes he needs this score or he’s doomed.

Erick Pulgar is the unflappable second-in-command who never flinches and never publicly questions the leader, but isn’t afraid to speak up in private when the top dog starts taking on too many risks. I’m thinking Zoe in Firefly.

An endlessly suave, charismatic presence to talk his way into and out of tight spaces is a crucial component, and that’s got Gaetano Castrovilli written all over it. Bonus points for his show-stopping dance scene potential.

Bartłomiej Drągowski’s imposing size and aspect make him look like a brawler, but he’d actually be the computer expert or something who completely eschews violence and is going to put his share of the money to a cat shelter.

Nikola Milenković, on the other hand, is the sort of terrifying muscle who lets you intimidate your way into places you’d otherwise be barred from. Also turns out to be a virtuoso on the piccolo or something.

Ditto for Igor, although I get the sense that he’s got a backstory as a former boxer whose career was ended after he beat the hell out of a corrupt politician’s slimy son.

You need a driver who does nothing else a la Ryan Gosling in Drive, and Cristiano Biraghi is the only man in the squad who’s monomaniacal enough to fill that role. Drives the car and sits in it until it’s time to leave. That’s his job and he does his job.

Dušan Vlahović is the parasailing, cave-diving, drag racing youngster whose specific skill set is necessary to make this audacious plan work, but he’s not afraid to get in anyone’s face for belittling his lack of expertise on criminal matters.

Nobody looks better in an all-black fit, and that makes Sofyan Amrabat the right man for the sophisticated surveillance expert who can’t believe he has to work with these amateurs.

Pietro Terracciano is absolutely the grizzled “I’m doing one last job to financially provide for my family, then getting out of this life” guy.

Giacomo Bonaventura, on the other hand, is the experienced hand who’s all about this life forever and whose endless experience serves as a reference point for the rest of the group. Will have at least one speech where he gets in someone’s face, describing some of the stuff he’s seen, that leaves everyone speechless.

Boundless enthusiasm for stuff going boom means that Lucas Martínez Quarta has to be the explosives expert. 10/10 would blow up a bathroom while putting together a device meant to quietly punch through a safe, with everyone shaking their heads and muttering that Mario Balotelli was the man for the job, but LMQ would get it right in the end.

Lorenzo Venuti is definitely the leader’s enthusiastic younger brother who has a bright future as an archaeologist but who insists on being a part of the job and winds up playing a key part when things start to go sideways.

And Alexandr Kokorin is the late addition to the group who winds up going rogue and/or betraying everyone else, leaving you to wonder how they didn’t see it all along.

Latest news

Remember when we thought that Gonçalo Guedes was en route? Ah, for the halcyon days of youth.

It’s been two weeks and I still can’t believe that Antonio Cincotta stepped down.

In a more positive staffing development, former Boca Juniors sporting director Nicolás Burdisso has joined the Viola staff in a scouting capacity. We’re excited.

Let’s keep up that Argentinean flair with a Pedro de la Vega rumor. And yes, he’s nicknamed Zorro.

Let’s keep it Argentine with the news that Albiceleste winger Nicolás González has nearly signed for Fiorentina, although his role with the national team means he probably won’t officially make the move until after the Copa America.

Fiorentina’s new training facility can go ahead and certainly won’t run into any more bureaucratic farce after the latest challenge fell flat in the courts.

I won’t post all the Gattusopoli stuff here, but I’ve gathered it all into a single, cursed place so you can revisit it if you want. What a goddamn shambles.

In the aftermath of Rino’s departure, the Viola had a handful of replacement candidates ready to go and we ran through them.

Fiorentina still want Vincenzo Italiano but, after days of little progress, there’s still little progress.

Must read

We continued our end-of-year grades with a glimpse at the central midfielders.

And we wrapped it up with a look at the forwards. Spoiler alert: a certain Serbian wrecked the grading curve for everybody.

We got the VN staff together to look at the year that was and figure out just what the hell happened. Maybe we succeeded, maybe we didn’t, but it was a lot of fun to discuss.

We asked you what you thought about Gaetano Castrovilli’s callup to the Azzurri for the Euros, and you overwhelmingly answered that it was a good thing.

Fiorentina isn’t just the players who played for the first team last year; remind yourself about Youssef Maleh and other returning talents who could make a big difference.

We did a podcast! It’s fun! We talked to Massimo Basile, who’s f***ing rad! Listen to it!

Since it’s so difficult for Fiorentina find the right manager, we figured we’d just go ahead and build one instead.

Want some wingback (and other stuff) analysis? Best believe we’ve got you covered.

Poll

Are you even paying attention to Fiorentina right now with all the other games going on?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    No, I’m focusing on teams that aren’t dysfunctional for the next few weeks.
    (4 votes)
  • 37%
    Enough to wince every time I read the word "Fiorentina."
    (21 votes)
  • 37%
    I’ve watched some Euros and some Copa America, but the drama there can’t compete with what’s happening in Firenze.
    (21 votes)
  • 17%
    What other games?
    (10 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now

Comment of the week(ish)

Catalogue, as usual, has the right take about the still-unofficial news of Nicolás González’ arrival in Florence.

That’s it for this week, folks. Enjoy the Euros and Copa and everything else, but don’t forget to talk to your family and friends too.