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Adiós Lucas Torreira, gracias por todo.

The treatment of Torreira leaves a sour taste and asks a lot of questions of Fiorentina

Lucas Torreira of ACF Fiorentina gestures at the end of the... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

As a simple football fan, I love the game and I love my club. For most of us it’s a passion which begins as a child, finding magic and escape in the simplest of sports. A lot of the time we think we’ve grown up, matured, outgrown that childish way of viewing the game, and life in general. Most of that has been beaten out of us, like the innocence of youth, by the world we live in, those who surround us, life itself. There are times, if we’re lucky, when you can find again that naivety, that innocent enthusiasm, love without reason, allow yourself to daydream, abandon our ego.

Cuando éramos niños

Los viejos tenían como 30

Un charco era un océano

La muerte lisa y llana no existía

(When we were kids, the old ones were around 30, A puddle was an ocean, death, plain and simple didn’t exist – Mario Benedetti)

For me, writing about football is a way to re-engage with the boy who would painstakingly create a football newspaper right after the results came in on a Saturday afternoon, which nobody would ever read. The same boy who spent hours drawing, and filling up notebooks that nobody would ever see. Creation for creations sake, when a child has no concept of making a profit, of taking advantage of any talent they may have. Some of us are not as fortunate to grow up in an atmosphere of encouragement, some are made to feel stupid or ashamed by their interests and abandon them before they can take hold. Sometimes it’s just the world around us which makes us feel like these things are pointless, meaningless, and everything you do must have a reason.

No te salves

No te quedes inmóvil al borde del camino

No congeles el júbilo, no quieras con desgana

No te salves ahora ni nunca, no te salves

No te llenes de calma

(Do not save yourself, don’t stand still on the side of the road, do not freeze the joy, do not want with reluctance, don’t save yourself now or never, don’t save yourself, don’t be calm – Mario Benedetti)

Less than two years ago I started writing for this site, and it reawakened that passion inside me. This is not something I do for money, or as a career, most of what I write, for this site, for other websites, for magazines, goes unpaid, but apart from that, I spend a lot of time researching and writing about football, a lot of which may never see the light of day. Writing is what I love to do and writing about football gives me a chance to combine these two passions, and my love for football was reawakened when I moved to Florence over 20 years ago and fell in love with Fiorentina.

“Escribiendo, iba a hacer con las manos lo que nunca había sido capaz de hacer con los pies…” (Writing, I was going to do with my hands what I was never able to do with my feet – Eduardo Galeano)

Football has changed, and is constantly evolving, and for us romantics, nostalgic for a past that can never return, it can be difficult to accept. It’s a game ruled more and more by money, a business like any other, at least that is how those who rule our game and our clubs like to see it. For us simple fans, most of us have learned to accept the modern game, and maybe it has killed just a little more, that passion and enthusiasm we felt as kids.

Like many, I have learned not to get too attached to players, which at times can seem a very childish way of watching the game. But this is still football, it is still a sport which inspires passion and hope, it sometimes allows us to dream, and now and then we can still watch with the wide-eyed wonder of a child. This is when we leave ourselves open to getting hurt, to suffer, and that is surely the point of life and love, and to football, to abandon ourselves to the world, to risk, to let it in no matter how painful it may get.

No reserves del mundo solo un rincón tranquilo

No dejes caer los párpados pesados como juicios

No te quedes sin labios, no te duermas sin sueño

No te pienses sin sangre, no te juzgues sin tiempo

(don’t reserve in the world just a quiet corner, don’t drop eyelids heavy like judgements, don’t run out of lips, don’t fall asleep without tiredness, don’t think of yourself without blood, don’t judge yourself without time – Mario Benedetti)

In my 20 years of supporting Fiorentina, the only thing I’ve seen us win was a Serie C2 league title. That was definitely a season of returning to football’s roots, to follow a team without superstars, against the likes of Poggibonsi, Montevarchi and Castelnuovo Garfagnano. If that is as good as it gets for me as a Fiorentina fan, I’ll take it. I was there, part of the adventure and it’s something nobody can take away from me. I know the chances of ever seeing my club winning a Scudetto or a Champions League are slim to none. That doesn’t mean I can’t dream, and the start of every new season allows us those precious moments when anything seems possible.

Defender la alegría como una trinchera

defenderla del escándalo y la rutina

de la miseria y los miserables

de las ausencias transitorias

y las definitivas

(Defend happiness like a trench, defend it from scandal and routine, from misery and the miserable, from temporary absences and from the definitive ones – Mario Benedetti)

Until the most recent season, watching Fiorentina the last few years has been depressing to say the least. Since the death of our beloved captain Davide Astori, the club has been in a downward free fall. Not that the two are necessarily linked, as it coincided with the drawn-out end of the Della Valle era, when the previous owners had clearly lost interest and enthusiasm in taking the club forward. We had many exciting seasons under their ownership, but the time for change had arrived. Any new owner was bound to be greeted with enthusiasm, and the proclamations of Rocco Commisso on his arrival gave us reason to hope.

For me, words need to be backed up with facts. The first mistake the new owner made was confirming a manager, Vincenzo Montella, who had failed to win a single game since he took over the previous season and led us to an embarrassing season finale to save ourselves from relegation. Later, Commisso would admit that this was done simply because Montella had a contract, and he was unwilling to invest in a new manager while already having one on the payroll. Not exactly in line with his announcement that money is not a problem.

defender la alegría como una bandera

defenderla del rayo y la melancolía

de los ingenuos y de los canallas

de la retórica y los paros cardiacos

de las endemias y las academias

(Defend happiness like a flag, defend it from lightning and melancholy, from the naïve and the scoundrels, from the rhetoric and the cardiac arrests, from endemics and academies – Mario Benedetti)

The only mistake Commisso has admitted to, was listening to the fans and sacking Beppe Iachini. If he sees that as an error, that should give some indication of the ambition of the club. Not wishing to dwell too much on the past, the season which just ended has seen us qualify for Europe. Possibly not what most of us would have predicted before the season started, and not only that, but we also finally had a manager who had us playing football that we could enjoy. Sure, we didn’t always win and there were some embarrassing defeats along the way, but we also finally had a group of players who played like they cared, a real squad. That, for me, was the most positive aspect.

Selling the league’s top scorer in January, to your biggest rivals, may not seem the most sensible or logical thing to do, but the club had its reasons, and most of us have accepted what happened. I just feel sorry for those who actually believed that bringing in all this cash, along with the money from Chiesa, would lead to major investment in the squad. Listening to Rocco Commisso’s most recent declarations, that is clearly not going to be the case.

I also won’t dwell too much on what Commisso has said, but for a man who runs a company like Mediacom Communications Corporation, he certainly has an issue with communicating. Calling a press conference, where journalists are expected to record their questions in advance and send them to the club so the president can listen and prepare his answers is just embarrassing. He refused to reply to questions about the transfer market by saying that Daniele Pradè would speak within days, well, we’re still waiting for that.

I have no interest in what happens at other clubs, at how they conduct their business, but this too seems an obsession of Rocco Commisso, along with his attacks on journalists and agents. I’m interested in what is going on at Fiorentina, and with no information coming from the club, we are left with stories in the press, agents giving their side of the story, and while the club is well able to speak out when it wants to on what they call ‘fake news’, recently they have chosen to remain silent on a subject which has been the main cause of concern for Fiorentina fans.

As I said, with experience I have tried not to get too attached to players, as we know what can easily happen. The recently ended season, however, has brought all of us together behind this team, and there are certain players who have become a symbol for this new Fiorentina. Lucas Torreira, a long-time target of the club, has easily been our most impressive player, and played a major part in this team achieving what it has. He has shown an attachment to our jersey, our club, our city, and our fans which is a rare thing in this day and age. Lucas has been the heart of our midfield and the team, someone who will simply rip his tooth out in order to stay on the pitch.

“Juego, luego soy: el estilo de jugar es un modo de ser, que revela el perfil propio de cada comunidad y afirma su derecho a la diferencia. Dime cómo juegas y te diré quién eres”. (I play therefore I am; the style of play is a way of being, which reveals the profile of each community and affirms its right to be different. Tell me how you play, and I’ll tell you who you are – Eduardo Galeano)

There are fans out there who seem to care more about the club making money than making progress, who look at our profit margin before looking at our league position. I’m not one of those, and I feel pity for someone who views football in that way. But, if you want to point out that the club were right to look for a reduction in the price of the player because he only has a year left on his contract, then why did they sign a loan deal on those terms just a year ago? Were they somehow unaware of Torreira’s contract with Arsenal?

Now, we don’t really know what has gone on between the player and the club. We don’t know what offers were made by the club to the player and for the player. I prefer to deal in facts, Lucas Torreira was our best player last season, (some may argue that Vlahovic’s goals brought us to where we finished, but that ship has sailed long ago), Lucas Torreira is a player that this team needs, Lucas Torreira, unlike others, wanted to remain at the club, Lucas Torreira fell in love with our city, and its people.

There is someone who claims that there are a lot of stupid people in Florence, that they are easily fooled, that they don’t appreciate all he has done for the club. That person by the way, is not Lucas Torreira.

I’ll tell you what’s stupid, selling your top scorer so you can bring in a big wad of cash to the club, and then refusing to invest in your best player who is willing to commit to the club. What’s stupid is deciding, when you finally have a decent team, to start again, to rip out its heart and think that taking another gamble is the way forward. What’s stupid is ignoring the fact that the vast majority of Fiorentina fans have fallen in love with a player, and for good reason, but you decide that it doesn’t matter, because this is business, this is your money, and we should be happy because you’re building a training centre when what we want is a proper team with players who care about the club.

Yes, this is me going back to a childish way of looking at football, of thinking that these things matter, of believing for a moment that some things are more important than money. I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m angry and I’m upset, as are so many Fiorentina fans. Does this club care? Do they even think to give us an explanation? The answer to both of those questions is clearly no. What’s more important is finding someone cheaper, preferably free. After all, this is a club, which in order to avoid paying a bonus to Torreira decided to leave him out of the starting line-up in the final game of the season. That there should tell you all you need to know about this club’s priorities.

“La historia del fútbol es un triste viaje del placer al deber: A medida que el deporte se ha hecho industria, ha ido desterrando la belleza que nace de la alegría de jugar porque sí.” (The history of football is a sad journey from pleasure to duty, As sport has become an industry, it has been banishing the beauty that is born from the joy of playing for playing’s sake – Eduardo Galeano)

People will tell me, ah but when they bring in someone even better, what will you say then? Well, it didn’t happen with Vlahović, what makes anyone think it will happen now. This was a chance to build and strengthen the squad, especially now that we are in Europe. Instead, let’s get rid of our best player, let’s start again. As for the rumours that Torreira fell out with Italiano, well if all the other stories from journalists are fake news, why are people so ready to buy this one which has no basis? We have the wonder how this story emerged, and for what reason.

All we are left with, are the memories, and a farewell statement from Lucas Torriera. That statement, as well as showing his love and affection for the club, the fans, and the city of Florence, also includes a line which leaves us wondering what happened and if he is talking about someone in particular. “Know that I did my best to be able to continue being part of this club, but unfortunately there were those who, acting in a bad way according to my understanding, managed to prevent this from happening, and that is why I have to leave.”

We’ve had players leave before, some sneaking away like thieves in the night without a word. Here we have a player who was only here on loan for one season, but as soon as he was informed that the club was no longer interested in continuing their relationship, he came out and let the fans know his feelings and said a proper goodbye.

“Y yo me quedo con esa melancolía irremediable que todos sentimos después del amor y al final del partido”. (And I am left with that incurable melancholy that we all feel after love and at the end of a game – Eduardo Galeano)

What kind of message does this give to other players that Fiorentina may wish to bring in on loan? You may end up being the best player in the team, you may become a favourite of the fans, but we can discard you without a second thought. What signal does it send to other clubs before entering into a loan arrangement with Fiorentina? Sure, we’ve signed an agreement, which includes the amount to pay if we wish to keep the player, but we’re not actually going to stick to that, we’ll come looking for a discount anyway.

The message to us simple fans is also quite clear, support the club’s owner, not the team or individual players. Do not allow yourselves to fall victim to childish dreams, do not romanticise the game, do not make heroes of, or fall in love with a player who gives their all for our jersey.

I am proud to call myself a Fiorentina fan, the thing is, I support the team, the players who wear the jersey, the manager, our colours. I do not support a club president or owner, that’s not what a football fan does in my opinion, and I will not be given lessons in football by people like Rocco Commisso or Joe Barone, who have much to learn, but don’t seem willing to learn from their mistakes. It’s also time that they showed more respect for this club, for its fans and for the city of Florence. There was no gun put to anyone’s head to buy our club, because yes, caro Rocco, this is our club, and when you move on, which you undoubtedly will, we will still be here, no matter what.

Lucas Torreira was a player who could easily have become our next captain, a symbol for this team. This is a guy who welcomed new players to the club and made them feel at home. Lucas Torreira helped make this team a family.

It’s not always easy to maintain enthusiasm and passion and enjoy the game of football. Some people will look to take that away from us, to treat us as clients, to demand our respect without showing any themselves. Others, such as Lucas Torreira, remind us of why we fell in love with the game of football in the first place. Don’t let business and money take that away.

defender la alegría como un destino

defenderla del fuego y de los bomberos

de los suicidas y los homicidas

de las vacaciones y del agobio

de la obligación de estar alegres

(Defend happiness like a destiny, defend it from fires and firefighters, from suicides and murders, from holidays and oppression, and from the obligation to be happy – Mario Benedetti)

How it started:

How it went:

How it ended:

“Dear fans of ACF Fiorentina. Unfortunately the time has come to say goodbye.

With great sadness I ended my relationship with the club that gave me so much love and support all this time. From the beginning they made me feel at home. I discovered a wonderful city that was always kind to me, both on the pitch and off it. They always showed me affection, respect, and for that I will always be grateful.

Thanks to their confidence I was able to find the continuity and level I wanted. I owe that to my teammates and all the fans who gave us energy game after game. Know that I always leave everything on the field of play for these colours.

Special thanks to all the staff at the club, the cooks, manager, physios and security. They are the fundamental building blocks for the functioning of this club.

Know that I did all my best to be able to continue being a part of this club, but unfortunately there were those who, acting in a bad way according to my understanding, managed to prevent this from happening. and that is why I have to leave.

I wish you the best for the future.

You will have one more fan supporting you from wherever I must be.

Forza Viola.

ACF Fiorentina v Empoli FC - Serie A Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images