Fiorentina will get one final warm up before beginning Serie A play in the form of a trip down the E35 to Arezzo. The friendly will also serve as a memorial to former Viola and Amaranti midfielder Bruno Beatrice.
The Tuscan outfit has spent most of its history in Serie C, occasionally pushing up to Serie B (they dropped from the second tier in 2006) and occasionally drifting down to Serie D. They’ve experienced a lot of turmoil in their history. Originally constituted as a merger of several local clubs in 1930, they earned a spot in Serie C in 1935; financial irregularities saw them busted back down in 1953, and it took another 5 years for them to reclaim their spot. They earned their first of four promotions to Serie B in 1966; their best season probably 1988, when they missed out on promotion to Serie A by just 5 points. Another financial dissolution in 1993 dropped them back to Serie D, but the Amaranti earned a promotion to Serie B just 11 years later. However, a lack of money saw them busted back to amateur status yet again in 2010, and the club saw 3 owners in under 3 years in the early part of the decade, but Roman businessman Mauro Ferretti has stabilized things since taking over in 2013, keeping them safely in Serie C—they finished 14th last year and 4th the year before.
Manager Alessandro dal Canto has generally employed a 4-3-3 this season. While neither is likely to be in the starting lineup, we could see appearances for Viola loanees Amidu Salifu and Luca Mosti. Also watch for North Korean winger and former Primavera star Choe Song Hyok, who was at the center of one of the most bizarre episodes I can recall the Gigliati ever having gotten themselves into (and that’s saying something).
After seeing their opener at Sampdoria canceled due to the bridge collapse, the Viola should treat this is a fairly low-intensity tuneup for the clash against Chievo Verona on Sunday. Stefano Pioli will probably give his starting XI about 45 minutes to work together, which is a boon considering that the squad came together rather late in the window; this could be a good, low-stakes opportunity for them all to get on the same page, and for the fans to figure out what the pecking order is. It’s also a good opportunity for Fiorentina to showcase some of their superfluous players for clubs in Spain, Germany, or France, where the transfer market remains open until the end of the month.
Bruno Beatrice was born in Milan on 5 March, 1948, and grew up in the Inter Milan academy before moving to Solbiatese in 1969, where he began his professional career. A solid 3 years convinced Arezzo to bring him aboard, and he had a goodyear with the Tuscan club, making 34 appearances and further raising his stock. In 1973, he joined Fiorentina and stayed for 3 seasons, making 72 appearances and notching a goal before moving to Cesena. He hung up his cleats in 1984 due to health issues, which were confirmed a year later to be leukemia. He died in Arezzo on 16 December 1987.
Lest you think that this is a purely joyful occasion to remember an ex-player, though, there’s more to the story about Beatrice’s life and death. In 2005, his widow Gabriella Bernardini Beatrice, requested that the Florence prosecutor’s office open an investigation into her late husband’s death, alleging that the doping regimen he’d undergone as a professional at Fiorentina was at fault for his death; the early deaths of several of his Fiorentina teammates were cited as evidence. In 2008, the prosecutor wrapped up the criminal case with the conclusion that there wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges against anyone due to the conspicuous absence of over 100 boxes of medical records from the period, but that the charge would have been homicide. The apparent theft implies a cover-up, and rumors of involvement reach as high as the infamous Propaganda Due, and is indicative of the stealthy chemical element prevalent in football back then and probably now as well.
Gabriella Beatrice and her family remain understandably furious with Fiorentina and Italian football in general. The Della Valles, it should be noted, have completely ignored the club’s complicity in the death of Bruno Beatrice, and have not invited the Beatrice family to the match. A civil case manslaughter case still hangs between them. If you thought that a club which had just seen the death of Davide Astori would have a change of heart here, you’d be wrong.
Arezzo (4-3-3): Pelagotti; Luciani, Pinto, Borghini, Sala; Foglia, Taschi, Serrotti; Cutolo, Brunoli, Bruschi
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Lafont; Milenkovic, Vitor Hugo, Pezzella, Biraghi; Benassi, Norgaard, Gerson; Chiesa, Simeone, Eysseric
How to watch
Online: Also nah. As a reminder, on the off-chance that you find a stream whose legality remains murky, post it only if you want to get ban-hammered.
Forza Viola, ma anche forza Beatrice!