It’s been a quiet year for Fiorentina Femminile, who sit 7th in the league as they begin a long-term rebuild under new coach Patrizia Panico. While there’ve been some highlights—a 1-6 at Lazio was mighty fun—this season has looked like one in which the new boss lays a foundation for a new project with a bunch of young players. With all the veterans the team’s lost, though, it makes sense to add an experienced reinforcement or two, and that’s exactly what they’ve done with Verónica Boquete.
The 34-year-old Spanish attacker can play off the striker or further back, which should give Panico some flexibility; Vero could play as a secunda punta off Daniela Sabatino or as an attacking midfielder in a trio. Her technique and vision for the killer pass should help Sabatino and Karin Lundin—who rank 1st and 4th in the scoring charts—find more space, as she’s already chipped in 2 goals and 3 assists herself in just 6 appearances this season. She should also add another goal threat, as those two have scored 14 of the team’s 18 goals this year.
This will be the peripatetic Spaniard’s 16th team (she’s played in 7 countries), but don’t think that she’s just some average player who can’t earn a permanent role anywhere; she’s a living legend who’s done a bit of everything. She’s won 5 league trophies and the Champions League (and been runner up twice). She led Spain in scoring one year with 39 goals, winning player of the year, and has won countless player of the week awards across various countries. She’s won 56 caps and 38 goals for Spain.
While there’ve been some raised eyebrows about bringing a 34-year-old into this team that’s supposed to be building for the future, Boquete’s contract is just for the remainder of the year. If nothing else, she should ensure that Fiorentina don’t risk relegation (they’re only 6 points out of the drop zone) while providing an example to the youngsters. More importantly for the fans, she’s likely to produce some fireworks, both on her own and in concert with Sabatino and Lundin.
She’s more than just that player, though: She’s one of the strongest personalities in the sport. She called out the Spanish FA for its shocking treatment of women players (30 minute documentary) and started a revolution in the national team, leading to the sacking of a coach who’d been there for 27 years, even though it meant she was never called up again. She’s been outspoken about women’s sports and where sexist administrations fail them. She was one of the players who led the push to get women into the EA Sport’s FIFA franchise. She’s as fearless taking on institutions as she is taking on defenders.
Rather than being a spiky character, though, she’s also clearly beloved by everyone she meets. She’s been a fan favorite at every stop; just listen to the dismay from AC Milan fans over her departure to get an idea. For crying out loud, she’s got a stadium named after her in her hometown of Santiago de Compostela. When you get a chance to sign an active player with a stadium named after them, you never pass it up.