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OFFICIAL: Alia Guagni is leaving Fiorentina

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This is a heartbreaking demonstration of why women’s football in Italy desperately needs to be fixed.

Alia Guagni of Fiorentina Women during the Serie A football... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

We’ve heard rumors about it for close to a month, but Fiorentina announced this morning that club captain and all-world defender Alia Guagni has terminated her contract with the club by mutual consent so that she can pursue a career elsewhere. This is not a referendum on the player, who’s never been anything but the soul of the team and the heart of professionalism. Neither is it a referendum on the Viola, who desperately wanted to keep the Italy international in her home town. It’s a referendum on the incompetence and shortsightedness of the FIGC.

We’ve written before about Italy’s simply inexcusable refusal to pay women like the professional footballers they are and have nothing else to add. As we said then, the fact that an athlete can represent the nation against other countries with fully professional players, then return to their domestic league and be treated as amateurs, is a disgrace. The FIGC should, at the barest of minimums, be investigated for its sexist policies, and disbanding it entirely to start from scratch wouldn’t be a terrible thing.

However, instead of focusing on the righteous anger that forced Guagni out of Florence, let’s celebrate her achievements with her hometown team. The two-time Serie A Footballer of the Year joined Fiorentina in 2015, the club’s inaugural season, and led them to a Scudetto, two Coppe Italia, and a Supercoppa. She anchored a defense that never dropped lower than third-best in the league under her watch and received a total of 5 bookings in that time, which highlights exactly how dominant she is.

Alia Guagni finishes her Fiorentina career with 112 appearances and 22 goals at the club in all competitions since its inception in 2015. That may not feel like a lot, but let’s remember that she signed for the Viola as soon as they established a team she could play in and has been that team’s top player ever since. She deserves a place next to legends like Giancarlo Antognoni and Gabriel Batistuta both for her play and for her dedication to the club. That she leaves now to earn a living at the job she’s done basically for free over the past decade doesn’t tarnish her legacy. It tarnishes calcio as a whole. All we can do is thank her for the goals, the tackles, the trophies, and the memories that she gave us, and wish her the best of luck at her next stop.