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Season review: Goalkeepers

It was another steady season from the number one, but a maelstorm of frustration around him.

ACF Fiorentina v West Ham United FC - UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2022/23 Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The goalkeeper position was a strange one for Fiorentina this year. The departure of our beloved Bartłomiej Drągowski secured Pietro Terracciano as the number one, but everyone knew the club was looking to add another starter. In came Pierluigi Gollini, but the Atalanta loanee was unable to dislodge the Fun Dad and a cavalcade of errors saw him benched and eventually sent back.

Instead, veteran Salvatore Sirigu signed on from Napoli to provide a steady hand, but an injury almost immediately knocked him out. That left academy product Michele Cerofolini as the last backup standing, and he got some burn over the final months of the season. In short, it was a bit more chaotic than you’d want at a position from which you’d generally prefer tranquility. Let’s look at the guys.

Pietro Terracciano

The 33-year-old was always supposed to be the lieutenant of a more ballyhooed starter, but spent another competent year as the number one. As usual, he didn’t make too many highlight reel saves, but he also made almost no mistakes. He was good in possession and very quick off his line as a sweeper behind Fiorentina’s high defense. In short, he was rock solid without wowing, although he did occasionally turn in some massive stops.

Stats: 44 appearances, 3990 minutes, 1 yellow card, 11 clean sheets

What’s next: He’s under contract until 2025 and seemed fine with returning to his backup role, so he should stick around as one of Serie A’s best backups, although Vincenzo Italiano’s penchant for rotation means we should see quite a bit of him.

Grade: B It wasn’t always perfect, but he kept the Viola in games without giving any away. That’s fine for a starter and fantastic for a backup.

Pierluigi Gollini

Brought in on loan from Atalanta, the 28-year-old was heralded as the long-term starter in Florence despite a nothingburger year at Tottenham Hotspur the year prior. It seemed odd that he didn’t immediately claim the number one spot over Terracciano, but it quickly became clear that it just wasn’t working. A few disastrous outings in the Conference League—he gifted Başakşehir 4 goals across 2 games—saw him sent to the bench, and eventually sent packing back to Atalanta.

Stats: 8 appearances, 720 minutes, 3 clean sheets

What’s next: He seemed to do fine with Napoli and may well stick there as a backup if the Partenopei trigger his clause. Otherwise, it’s back to Atalanta for a year. We wish him the best of luck.

Grade: D- We really wanted to like him but he just got the yips. It worked out fine for him, at least, as he still won Serie A this year.

Salvatore Sirigu

At 36, his best days may be behind him, but we were still intrigued to see what he could offer when the Viola swapped him for Gollini with Napoli. A steady hand to alternate with Terracciano felt like just what the doctor ordered, with the added benefit of heaps of experience with top-level teams to help his teammates make a run in the cups. Unfortunately, he made just two appearance before rupturing his Achilles in training and spending the rest of the year on the sidelines.

Stats: 2 appearances, 180 minutes, 1 clean sheet

What’s next: Fiorentina has an option to extend his contract for next season, but given how long Achilles injuries take, he may wind up as a free agent and try to catch on next spring. I hate to say it, but at his age, this could be it for his career as a player, too. Here’s hoping he fully recovers and keeps on playing if he wants to. He should have plenty of suitors.

Grade: B- Not going to blame him for the injury and he looked pretty spry in his outings.

Michele Cerofolini

The 24-year-old academy graduate and native Tuscan spent most of the year as the third goalkeeper before being thrust into the backup role, and he responded quite well, making his club debut in a 5-0 romp over Sampdoria and generally looking like he belonged. He needs to improve in possession but showed promise as a shot stopper, making some big saves down the stretch.

Stats: 5 appearances, 450 minutes, 2 clean sheets

What’s next: He’s under contract through next season and may want a chance to start somewhere, especially coming off some good performances. A promotion-chasing Serie B side or even a bottom-tier Serie A outfit could use him, although I wouldn’t be shocked if he signed an extension with Fiorentina before departing.

Grade: B+ Stayed ready for the entire season and balled out when called upon.

Next up: it’s the centerbacks.