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Cincotta steps down

The coach who’s brought more trophies to Florence than any other is out after 5 glorious years.

ACF Fiorentina Women v FC Internazioanle Women - Women Serie A
My coach.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

We’ve heard whispers of it all summer, and now Antonio Cincotta himself has confirmed it on his Facebook page, posting a heartfelt farewell to the Fiorentina Femminile and the city of Florence (via Violanews) that details all the successes he led the team through and thanking everyone he met along the way.

To remind everyone, Cincotta won Serie A in 2016-2017, Coppe Italia in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, and the Supercoppa in 2018 to take his personal trophy haul to 4. He also brought the team to the Champions League for 4 years of his 5 years, including a run to the last 16 this past year which represents the farthest an Italian team has ever gone in the tournament. He’s also overseen the development of some of the team’s greatest players in Alia Guagni, Elena Linari, Tatiana Bonetti, and Ilaria Mauro.

Despite a much-publicized slide down the standings this year, he still led the team to a 4th place finish and that Champions League run despite losing half his starters from the previous year, receiving few fully established reinforcements, and dealing with so many injuries that he often only had 2 senior players available for the bench. Despite these obstacles, he led the team on a late surge, winning the last 4 straight to finish in a respectable 4th place.

His replacement is reportedly Patrizia Panico, currently the Italy U15 manager (the first and only woman to coach a men’s side for the Azzurri). She’s a legend in Italy—107 goals in 187 international caps to go with 647 domestic goals—and played for Fiorentina in 2016-2017; she’s as exciting an option as exists, and if she does indeed sign on, we’ll be very excited.

Nevertheless, we’re all gutted about Cincotta’s exit. He’s represented the club and the city with passion, dignity, grace, and humor for half a decade and brought unparalleled success to Fiorentina during a turbulent period in Viola history, and we all owe him more gratitude than we can ever pay. I’ve translated his farewell from Facebook below; extrapolate that attitude over 5 years and 4 trophies and you should have an idea of what kind of manager and person he is.

“Thanks to everyone’s work, we’ve had the fortune to write INDELIBLE pages calcio pages for the history of this society. I arrived with an EMPTY women’s trophy case and with a blank page to write called Europe.

A proud farewell upon seeing ALL the trophies that sparkle in the case and proud of the European journey that allowed us to play the Champions League 4 TIMES and reach the QUARTERFINALS 3 times, results of the highest level for all Italian women’s soccer. Thanks to a STAFF that has gone beyond all limits, we’ve launched many talented young girls at the highest levels: this is a source of pride that no one can ever take away from me. Invisible victories for many, but no less important.

We then personally played the match of matches, in the sold out Juventus stadium. There the history of a movement was written and with that showcase, we caught the interest of many people. We came out defeated against a great Juve, against whom we lost several times, but with whom we have shared the ABSOLUTE leadership of this sector for years. I also applaud Juventus for all they have done in my cycle, great opponents, great honor.

Florence was a dream come true. I was lucky enough to share this journey with TWO ownership groups, many technical collaborators, doctors, therapists, workers, cooks, waiters, team managers, secretaries, and all the club staff. How many thanks I need to give and I give gladly! First of all the fans, who with their affection have dragged us to overcome insurmountable obstacles. Thank you for the infinite passion and closeness even in difficult moments.

And then a thank you from the heart to the girls: for everything they gave to the Viola shirt and for what they taught me every day. I carry all those moments lived together in my heart. I don’t even forget the journalists, who—with passion and intellectual honesty—supported our campaigns. My heartfelt thanks go to them too.

I’ll close with a comment on this season: we experienced many difficulties, but in the end we finished fourth after an epic comeback, also reaching the Supercoppa final and the last 16 of the Champions League, earning the opportunity to challenge a colossus like Manchester City. There is always a song for every moment of life, and these notes greet the end of the cycle:

It’s the effort of a step backwards

To make room for you.

This secret instant is worth a lifetime,

Which enfolds both of us,

That makes a greeting of silence

And from one it makes two paths.

After 5 glorious years my work as COACH AND MANAGER ends!!!

Forza Viola, vinci ancora! Always.”

Grazie per tutto, Antonio. I can’t believe it’s all over, but what a ride it was. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.