Gonzalo Rodríguez has returned to Buenos Aires and rejoined boyhood club San Lorenzo on a free transfer. This is fitting, since it’s been his plan all along to go back to the Cuervo for a year or two before he retired, but the circumstances sure aren’t what we’d hoped for.
We could sum up Gonzalo’s Fiorentina career with just the numbers and it would look pretty dang good. His 203 appearances with the Viola is good for 23rd all time and 8th best among defenders. He trails only Gabriel Batistuta for most appearances by an Argentine in the purple shirt. His 25 goals are 2nd-most by a Viola defender, trailing Daniele Passarella by one.
But Gonzalo was a lot more than those numbers. He wore the armband for two years. He led the team by example for his entire time in Florence, fearlessly closing down high up the pitch and continually digging into the penalty area. His accurate long balls from the back provided the perfect change-of-pace when the Viola midfield stalled out with its short passing game.
He wasn’t just a guy who showed up to play soccer, either. He made good with a local girl and had a daughter (I guess they’ll be traveling a lot more to see him now). He stepped on stage at rock concerts and played the guitar. Nobody ever had anything bad to say about him.
Seeing him forced out after Pantaleo Corvino offered him a two-year contract with a deeply-reduced salary earlier this year hurts a lot, as Gonzalo remained a very solid defender as well as the emotional center of the team. It’s another shameful episode for a team that’s had too many of them in the past couple of years, but that doesn’t make it any better. Rather, it makes it worse.
Farewell, Gonzalo. You deserved so much better. We wish you nothing but the best back with San Lorenzo. Please, when you think back on this, remember it was the club’s management who forced you out and recall us, the fans, with kindness. We promise that we’ll always do the same.