Fiorentina finally posted the official announcement this morning that Vitor Hugo has been sold back to Palmeiras, bringing his 2-year stint in Florence to a close. The Viola will get €5.5 million for the 28-year-old—a loss on the €8 million they paid for him in 2017—and he’ll sign a 5-year contract worth €1.8 million annually, according to Gianluca di Marzio. It’s hardly a surprise, as the transfer has been brewing for at least a week.
Never the most elegant or technical centerback, Vitor Hugo was nevertheless quite useful. A rugged, tough-tackling, aerially-powerful defender, he was a perfect foil to Davide Astori, whose reading of the game and excellent passing complemented him perfectly. Alongside Germán Pezzella, though, who’s also more of a penalty-box defender, Vitor Hugo’s blunders were often magnified without a sweeper cleaning up behind him; it’s hard to forget his “marking” up the pitch turning Josip Iličić into the world’s best player during the Coppa Italia.
He should slot in as a starter for Palmeiras immediately; after all, this is a guy who made 54 appearances for the Viola over his 2 years, tallying a goal, 2 assists, 12 yellow cards (which isn’t nearly as many as we seem to remember), and a red card, as well the the iconic salute to Astori a week after the captain’s death.
Vitor Hugo, who is wearing number 31, salutes a shirt with the picture of his captain Davide Astori on it after scoring. RIP Davide. We all miss you. #DA13 pic.twitter.com/k5ycyYtwVJ— Stereo Serie A (@StereoSerieA) March 11, 2018
In case anyone was wondering if Vitor Hugo’s a pretty swell guy, he also posted a farewell (or two) to Fiorentina on Instagram which seemed deeply heartfelt, which we’ve translated below.
“Florence, aah beautiful Florence! The city that I chose to live in when I left Brazil for the first time two years ago, the city that we chose for our little Antonella to be born in! Where I found many friends that I will carry with me forever! Fiorentina, Grande Viola!! Team that welcomed me as its son, where I met talented professionals and real men, a team who brought me to where I never thought of coming, a team where I experienced some good moments like a phenomenal beginning of last season where we won 6 to 1, or that beautiful win of 7 to 1 against one of the biggest teams in Italy! And I also experienced the most difficult moment of my life, when we lost our great captain Davide Astori, who will always remain in our hearts! I had the honor of scoring the first goal after his death and remembering it for the wonderful person he was. Indescribable and unforgettable emotions that made me grow as a professional and as a man!! Today I finish the cycle with you, aware that I have always left my best on the pitch in every game for the team and for our captain! That’s why I go out with my head high. Keep going like this, the fans together with the players, because this is how you will get far; and from afar I will also be your fan! See you soon Florence and goodbye Fiorentina! I wish you all a good luck! and as I’ll always say FORZA VIOLA!”
Thank you for everything, Vitor, and we wish you nothing but good fortune and success back with Palmeiras. Next time you’re in Florence, we have a feeling that you won’t be buying your own drinks.