We’ve been expecting the news for weeks, and Fiorentina finally obliged today: Giuseppe Iachini is out as manager and Cesare Prandelli is back. We’d heard rumors that Beppe might hang on until the new year, but Rocco Commisso and company had seen enough and relieved him of his duties. Prandelli will take over until the end of the season, at which point he’ll transition to a role overseeing youth development.
It’s been a little over ten years since Prandelli was the mister in Florence. Having coached the team from 2005 until 2010, he’s managed more games for the Viola than anyone else in history and oversaw the club’s last run in the Champions League. Now 63, he’s coming off short and, frankly, not very successful stints with Galatasaray, Valencia, Al-Nasr, and Genoa.
Of course, San Cesare has a very close connection with the city and the fans after his previous successes and should help quell the rumblings among supporters. While there’s some concern that continued struggles with this talented but oddly-constructed outfit could tarnish his Viola legacy, Prandelli is clearly a stop-gap measure, one whose brief is to keep Fiorentina afloat until a long-term manager (Maurizio Sarri?) can be appointed as season’s end.
Iachini, meanwhile, shouldn’t be out of work for too long. While he clearly struggled this year to balance attack and defense, ultimately failing to do either, his work to steady the ship last year and ultimately lead the team out of what looked to be a certain relegation battle under Vincenzo Montella deserves recognition and gratitude from the fans. We wish him nothing but success at his next stop and have every expectation that he’ll do well wherever he pops up.
Back to Prandelli, it remains to be seen how he’ll set the team up. While many of us fondly recall his high-scoring, free-flowing, charismatic sides of the mid-2000s, his last stop in Italy showcased a very different side to his approach. Gone was the 4-2-3-1, replaced by a rather more dour 3-5-2 which he may try to keep for a little while as the players adjust to his new tactics, especially given the lack of wide attackers on the roster.
Regardless, it’s very exciting to see a Fiorentina legend return to the team, even under rather adverse circumstances. With Prandelli joining Dario Dainelli and Marco Donadel on the staff, we can dream that he’s still got some of the magic that turned those two into key cogs of his wonderful teams from a dozen years ago. Welcome back, mister. It’s good to have you.