As Fiorentina fans, we’re all well-acquainted with the deficiencies of Sporting Director Daniele Pradè. First, Pradè loves to bring in older players. Second, Pradè often refuses to look outside of Italy, instead of focusing on domestic players at the expense of better talent abroad. While neither of these issues in and of themselves is a massive problem, they become one when combined with Pradè’s biggest issue: a lack of any identity for the first-team. Pradè has consistently brought in players whose fits don’t make sense see Josè Callejon) or just aren’t very good (Sasha Kokorin).
With all this in mind, it makes sense why many fans (myself included) have been calling for Pradè to go for the better part of a year. At this point, it’s unclear what Pradè would have to do to actually be fired, as it’s hard to imagine two more mediocre seasons than the last ones we endured. With that in mind, the best that we could hope for heading into next season would be for Rocco Commisso to hire a complementary figure to Pradè ala Eduardo Macià, who worked as a Technical Director during Pradè’s first stint with the Viola from 2012-2015. Macià played a key role in building the vibrant squads during Vincenzo Montella’s first stint, working alongside Pradè to bring in talent such as Borja Valero, Juan Cuadrado, and Gonzalo Rodriguez.
That’s why its exciting to see Fiorentina has brought back the role of Technical Director and with it an exciting young managerial talent in Nicolás Burdisso. The 40-year-old was a mainstay in Serie A for well over a decade, logging over 340 appearances in the league with Inter, Roma, Genoa, and Torino from 2004 until his retirement in 2018. After hanging up his boots, Burdisso was appointed as Sporting Director at Argentinean club Boca Juniors, one of the biggest clubs in South America. This means Burdisso’s no stranger to pressure, as at Boca not winning silverware is just cause to be fired.
Burdisso spent one year at Boca, in which the club finished third and first in the Primera Division (he spent parts of two seasons, but not one full season with the club). His biggest purchase was Roma legend Daniele De Rossi, but he also brought in other high-profile names such as Eduardo Salvio. However, he didn’t have the time to implement his own philosophy in Buenos Aires. Since leaving Boca, Burdisso obtained his European Sports Director’s license and has expressed a desire to work in Italy. As for Burdisso’s connection to Fiorentina, it was Daniele Pradè who brought him to Roma in 2009, and that connection has been rumored to play an important role in Burdisso’s decision to sign on.
This move has been rumored for over a month now, and I’d been wondering whether it was ever going to be officially announced, as Burdisso has been seen in various meetings with the Viola upper brass for a few weeks now. The biggest question with Burdisso was what his role would be. Hiring him as a Technical Director (rather than as a scout or advisor) suggests Burdisso will have considerable authority, which is exciting news for all of us fans. We’ve already seen his influence with the signing of Nicolás González, a young, exciting Argentinean talent from abroad who is a far cry from the Pradè purchase template of the last few seasons.
In an interview with Fiorentina’s official news channels, he elaborated on his role.
“I’m responsible for the technical aspects within the club. I must connect the needs of the first team, which we are focusing on, to the scouting and youth sectors. Technically, I have to propose names and plan the progression of players who can be useful to the youth sector and reach the First Team, while also looking for talent all over the world.”
While this feels like more of a band-aid than the full-on overhaul the club’s management needs, I’d love to be proven wrong and see Burdisso become the missing piece that helps this club regain an identity. This is certainly a role that should have been filled last season, and Burdisso is an exciting addition that at the very least will not hurt the club. Welcome, Nicolás!