We had an inkling when Fiorentina announced a press conference with Daniele Pradè and Luca Ranieri for this morning, but the pair confirmed it by announcing that the 20-year-old defender has signed a contract extension that will keep him in Viola colors until 2024. It’s a crowning moment for a player who’s been at the club since he was 14 years old and, aside from last year’s loan to Foggia, has been a mainstay for every squad he’s been in.
Ranieri’s now made 4 appearances for the first team this year, which is no mean feat on a club featuring the talents of Germán Pezzella, Nikola Milenković, and Martín Cáceres. Capable of playing in the middle or on the left of a back three or a back four, his versatility is one of his most impressive qualities; he’s been perfectly happy to operate in various capacities over the past several seasons.
After his breakthrough at Foggia, which carried him from middling prospect to Serie A ready option and starter for the Italy U21s, it’s that versatility that’s really been his hallmark. He played at fullback against Monza and on the left of the back 3 otherwise. He’s had a few tough moments—his sending off against Lazio was completely unnecessary—but he’s not even old enough to buy a beer in the US and has shown everything you want in a player his age.
His most impressive quality thus far has been his knack for sliding challenges on the endline that see him win the ball, pop up, and take off the other direction, but he’s shown a talent for being in the right place at the right time, an ability to surge into space with the ball at his feet, and an aerial presence that belies his unimpressive stature. He probably needs to get stronger and, in his own words, “There’s a lot I need to improve on. I need to stay focused for the entire length of games.” That kind of humility and frankness is only part of why we’re thrilled he’ll be making those improvements in Florence for the next 5 years, and we’re excited to see him grow into a key member of the squad.