Yesterday brought the news that former Fiorentina captain, star, and civic symbol Alia Guagni, fresh off terminating her contract with the Viola, has signed with Atletico Madrid. She’ll join former teammate and fellow Azzure star Elena Linari in the Colchonera defense, forming an all-Italian right side of the rearguard.
We’ve already made our feelings clear about the circumstances of Guagni’s departure, but we’ll briefly cover them again. Alia Guagni is an absolute legend and deserves the admiration, respect, and support of every Fiorentina fan. The reason for her departure is Italy’s unbelievably (or, knowing Italy, all-too-believable) backwards attitude towards paying women players. Guagni has never made anything approaching a living wage for her career with Fiorentina and deserves to be paid for her work and talent. Since that wasn’t going to happen in Florence, it makes perfect sense for her to leave.
Her departure, along with those of forwards Ilaria Mauro and Paloma Lázaro, means we’re going to see a really different Fiorentina Women’s next year. While we’re not as worried about the attack—having Tatiana Bonetti and Lana Clelland means the goals aren’t going to dry up—there’s no way to replace a player of Guagni’s quality; she’s without a doubt one of the three best rightbacks in the world and has been the leader of this squad for years.
We wish Alia nothing but success and happiness in Madrid, where she’ll earn a salary that’s a little bit more commensurate with her ability. It’s a huge coup for Atletico, who now have one of the best defenses in Spain. It’s an indefinable loss for Fiorentina brought on by a criminally sexist and incompetent FIGC. We hope that she at least returns home someday, but the fact that she won’t spend her entire career in the city she loves is a goddamn shame.