We’d thought Tatiana Bonetti was following in the footsteps of Elena Linari and Alia Guagni in moving to Atletico Madrid. She surprisingly sat out the 1-3 loss to Sassuolo, which certainly didn’t help the team, and word leaked soon after that she’d told Antonio Cincotta that she was leaving for Spain in search of an improved wage. Now, though, it sounds like she’s changed her mind is back in training with Fiorentina.
This helps explain the team’s flat performance against the Neroverde. Seeing one of its most talented attackers (a goal and 4 assists this year in 3 appearances) leave would naturally upset the balance in any team. Besides being one of the stars on the team, she’s also one of the longer-serving players in the team, having joined in 2016. She’s clearly one of the leaders, and a team losing a leader tends to play worse than usual (hi, Fiorentina vs Sampdoria).
We’re obviously thrilled that Bonetti is staying. She has more fantasia in her than almost any player in the league and matches her impact with tactical versatility, giving Cincotta a lot of options in his approach. Especially with Martina Piemonte picking up a knock against Sassuolo, Tati’s importance to this team cannot be overstated.
That said, the factors that nearly pushed her out of Italy remain active. These athletes still don’t get paid as professionals and won’t be until 2022 at the earliest (and even that is still up for debate). Sources claim that several Fiorentina executives were furious about the deal and sent Joe Barone to iron it out, which he did via phone call; to their credit, Atleti were apparently willing to put the move on hold to avoid rupturing the relationship.
It’s not impossible that Bonetti will still leave (Chelsea are also supposedly interested). Even a team as successful as Fiorentina has to worry about its players getting poached by bigger leagues that actually pay their players a living wage. Since Serie A players are amateurs in FIFA’s eyes, the contracts they sign are amateur contracts. This means that any professional side can swoop in at any moment and sign them like they would any free agent, leaving Italian women’s teams completely unprotected.
Bonetti is now back in training with the side, which is an immense credit to her; any injury she sustains could scupper a move, whether that’s to Spain, England, or somewhere else entirely. Her willingness to risk her future as a pro should go a long way towards rebuilding the relationship with her teammates, which is really important, especially for a club that works so hard to build a positive and supportive environment as the Viola do.
We haven’t heard the last of this story because we’re still in the middle of it. While this is absolutely a Fiorentina story—the club losing one of its best players is a big deal—it’s also a Serie A Femminile story, an Italy story, a whole world story. If it doesn’t leave you fuming, you’re not paying attention.