Since arriving in Florence from Sevilla in 2016 for €3 million, Sebastian Cristoforo has seen a plethora of other midfielders pass through the Fiorentina engine room: Carlos Sánchez, Jordan Veretout, Marco Benassi, Bryan Dabo, and now Christian Nørgaard and Gerson. These are all players who work in similar areas of the pitch to Cristoforo and have rendered him almost entirely superfluous. It’s not surprising, then, that he’s requested a move away from the club.
It’s hard not to feel at least a little bad for Sebastian. He moved to Sevilla as a 19-year-old, but made just 33 league appearances before leaving for Fiorentina. It wasn’t lack of talent, but rather knee injuries that kept him down. We at Viola Nation were very excited when he joined, as he’d been an enormously promising young midfielder before the injuries: a combative ball-winner who also had the skill to start quick attacks with his pinpoint long passing.
When he didn’t settle in immediately, it was easy to forgive him. Coming back from two lost years takes some time, after all, and the midfield was fairly well set in his absence. But when he was unable to leapfrog the likes of la Roca, we could all see the writing on the wall. Rarely used by Paulo Sousa or Stefano Pioli, his occasional appearances confirmed what we suspected: while the energy and ball-winning remained, he’s simply not good enough with the ball to play at this level right now, even in Pioli’s schemes which don’t demand a whole lot of passing skill in the middle.
While the rumor is that Cristoforo wants to stay in Europe, he may be running out of chances on this continent, as no suitors have yet emerged for his services. However, boyhood club Peñarol are reportedly interested in bringing him (along with Maxi Olivera) back, and that might be the be in his best interest. He’d get all the minutes he wants with los Carboneros and, in a familiar setting, could maybe recapture some of that old magic and give Europe another try in a couple of years. After all, he’s still just 24 years old. Wherever he ends up, we wish him well. We just hope that he gets out soon, as he’s obviously surplus to requirements right now.
Last night, we got a message from Cristoforo’s verified Twitter account stating that he hasn’t asked for a move away, and requesting that we reflect that fact in our story. As far as we can tell, the original story is still up, and similar reports are available on several other outlets. However, we (rather, I) regret the error and will address it more fully in a bit.