One of the joys that trying to write about Fiorentina from 5500 miles/8880 km away is that there’s so much stuff that slips through the cracks. If you’re keeping a file of those things, we’ve got another one for you: Marco Benassi casually mentioned in a press conference this morning that he signed a contract extension last year before leaving on loan to Hellas Verona.
It’s a curious move by the brain trust of Joe Barone and Daniele Pradè. While Benassi’s experienced some success in Florence—he led the team in scoring with 7 goals (all from open play) in 2018-2019—he’d pretty clearly dropped out of favor by the following year, precipitating a loan move to the Mastini; in hindsight, whatever moron wrote that there was probably a clause in that deal was probably way off base.
Still, it feels like a very odd move to hang onto a player who has, despite some outrageous moments, largely disappointed in his Viola career. Maybe Pradè’s just ensuring that he won’t run down his contract and leave for nothing, but tying down one of the representations of Fiorentina’s recent futility feels very odd from the outside. Signing him to a new contract last year, when his injury was likely fully understood, is a little bit bonkers.
Perhaps, though, he can supply the goals from midfield that Vincenzo Italiano wants. If he can do that while offering some hustle without the ball, he could be quite useful. It’s also worth remembering that he’s one of the longest-tenured players in the side (only Lorenzo Venuti, Bartłomiej Drągowski, and Riccardo Saponara have been here longer) and has captained various club and international sides, so he’s clearly got the respect of people in the organization and the footballing community in Italy. All we can really say is welcome back and best of luck, Marco.