Now that the transfer window has closed and the squads are finalized (aside from some possible late sales, but let’s skip that for now), it’s time for the most important article of the year, the one that determines how Fiorentina will perform in the upcoming season. I’m talking, of course, about analyzing everyone’s jersey numbers.
1. Pietro Terracciano
The veteran backup will keep his number from last year. Given Bart’s eccentricities, we’re okay with this. Pietro is a sound and occasionally spectacular reserve who brings a steadiness to the squad and doesn’t torpedo Fiorentina when the starter is out. He’s no Sarti or Superchi or Toldo or Frey, but he’s no embarrassment to number either.
Last worn by: Terracciano (2019)
2. Lucas Martínez Quarta
Great pick. While most of us may think of 2 as the rightback, in much of Latin America it’s synonymous with a no-nonsense central defender. Gonzalo Rodríguez is your reference point here. A big improvement from his 28 with River Plate. Just excellently done all around. Surely means he’ll have an excellent Viola career.
Last worn by: Julian Illanes (preseason 2020), Vincent Laurini (2018)
3. Cristiano Biraghi
Back from his Inter Milan adventure, the Italy international has reclaimed his favorite digit from Igor. A leftback wearing 3 is good and correct and Cris is doing just fine here, although it does make you wonder how players figure out who gets which number. I’ve heard that in some teams there are purchases (the Chris Kluwe-Donovan McNabb deal comes to mind), so here’s hoping the Brazilian got something out of it.
Last worn by: Igor (2019)
4. Nikola Milenković
The Mountain that Kicks likes number four. And let’s be honest. Does anyone have the temerity to tell him to ditch it? It remains a good number for him.
Last worn by: Milenković (2019)
5. Giacomo Bonaventura
This is the first one that feels a bit odd. Five is for a central defender or a defensive midfielder. Jack is neither; he’s a box-to-box guy or maybe a trequartista, but certainly not a regista. That said, it’s not too random; he repped the number for 4 years at AC Milan and intermittently for Italy, so we can let him have this one without being too upset.
Last worn by: Milan Badelj (2019)
6. Borja Valero
With Pezzella already occupying his beloved 20, the Mayor did exactly what you’d expect from him and gracefully let the captain hang onto it. In fairness, six isn’t a terrible fit for Borja these days. From what we’ve seen of him, his job will be to drop deep and help the team keep the ball. While six is more of a defensive midfielder than a schemer, this isn’t a stretch at all. And it’s Borja f***ing Valero. He can do whatever he wants.
Last worn by: Luca Ranieri (2019)
7. Franck Ribery
Even though he’s not really a winger anymore, you can’t really associate him with any other number, and there’s certainly nobody who’s going to bully him out of it.
Last worn by: Ribery (2019)
8. Alfred Duncan
Much better than the 88 he picked last year. He got 8 his final year at Sassuolo after knocking around with 32 for a few years, so it seems to be his favorite. Very happy that he got it, as he’s about as perfect an 8 as you’ll find: a polished all-rounder who can do some of everything and do it well. He’s a worthy successor to Tanino for a number that’s had some struggles of late in this Viola setup (e.g. Gerson, Saponara).
Last worn by: Castrovilli (2019)
9. Dušan Vlahović
After sporting the rather awkward 28 for the past couple of seasons, the Very Large Young Adult Man pounced on the chance for the hallowed 9. While the naysayers may grouse that he hasn’t earned it yet, you have to admire his confidence and hope that he’ll grow into it. There’s no denying that he’s got the potential; if he puts together a good campaign, nobody will argue that it belongs on anyone else next year.
Last worn by: Kouamé (2019)
10. Gaetano Castrovilli
This feels so right. While the 8 was a fine option last time around, especially as he grew into the defensive side of the game, Tanino’s standout talent is his dribbling through the middle. There’s only one number that matches that skillset, and it’s the most hallowed number in the sport. While it’s a bit stressful perhaps to follow in the steps of Giancarlo Antognoni, Rui Costa, and Adrian Mutu, he’s got the bonus of directly succeeding a hmm less-than-inspiring group. He’s got Antognoni’s blessing, though, so let’s hope he emulates the greatest-ever Viola player and spends his whole career in Florence.
Last worn by: Kevin-Prince Boateng (2019)
11. Christian Kouamé
After grabbing 9 last year when first Giovanni Simeone and then Pedro vacated it, the move to 11 may signify how Chris feels about himself as a player: less a prima punta and more a threat flickering in from the wings and off the main striker. It definitely works for him and has proved prolific for Fiorentina with the likes of Alberto Gilardino.
Last worn by: Riccardo Sottil (2019)
18. Riccardo Saponara
Sure. Nothing wrong here.
Last worn by: Rachid Ghezzal (2019)
20. Germán Pezzella
This has been his pick for nearly a decade, from River to Real Betis to Fiorentina. While Borja’s arrival could have made it awkward, the captain seems to have smoothed over any difficulties and will hang onto it, which is very okay with us.
Last worn by: Pezzella (2019)
21. Pol Lirola
The Catalan runs it back. This is clearly his favorite shirt and there’s no problem with him wearing it.
Last worn by: Lirola (2019)
22. Martín Cáceres
No beef with the veteran keeping this one.
Last worn by: Cáceres (2019)
23. Lorenzo Venuti
Another repeat. Love that the player who’s been on the books the longest is a fullback wearing 23. It’s an excellent callback to Manuel Pasqual, although who knows if that’s Lollo’s intent?
Last worn by: Venuti (2019)
27. Antonio Barreca
This sounds some alarm bells. 27 is fine in and of itself, but the last time it graced a good Viola player was, what, Cristian Tello in 2015? This one feels cursed is what I’m saying; look at the history. Here’s hoping Antonino is the man to buck that trend.
Last worn by: Nicky Beloko (2019)
28. Tòfol Montiel
It’s fine, but there were so many numbers in the teens available. Maybe he’s paying tribute to his best buddy from his Primavera days?
Last worn by: Vlahović (2019)
32. Christian Dalle Mura
Not a bad squad number for the youngster, but again, there were so many numbers in the teens. Maybe he’s trying to show his humility before taking one.
Last worn by: Jacob Rasmussen (2019)
33. Federico Brancolini
The third-string goalkeeper has worn thirty-three since 2017, so it’s clearly got some sort of hold on him. Wouldn’t have minded him grabbing the 12, but maybe he feels like he hasn’t earned it yet.
Last worn by: Brancolini (2019)
63. Patrick Cutrone
He loves the pizza, he loves the pasta, he loves 63. In fairness, it’s the year of his father’s birth, so it does make him seem like a lovely young man even as it rather jars the eyes.
Last worn by: Cutrone (2019) and literally nobody else ever
69. Bartłomiej Drągowski
We still don’t know why Saint Bartholomew loves this one so much. We initially attributed it to a teenage sense of humor, but his dedication to the number hints at something much more significant. The birth year of a parent or mentor feels about right, although again, we have no confirmation of that.
Last worn by: Drągowski (2019) and definitely nobody else ever
77. José Callejón
So many fine numbers in the teens that he could’ve taken, and instead we’re having flashbacks to another 30-something western European attacker. Here’s hoping that none of Cyril Théréau rubbed off on this one in any sense of the word. But 77? Woof.
Last worn by: Théréau (2019)
92. Valentin Eysseric
He’s gone for the unoriginal but safe choice of his birth year. It’s fine, but who else is very excited for the Zoomers to take over so this tradition can be safely put to bed?
Last worn by: Rômulo (2012)
Oh man. Just take one of those open numbers in the teens. Please. It looks so much more elegant. On the plus side, we can definitely put Igor down as an agent of chaos now.
Last worn by: Rafik Zekhnini (2019)