It’s taken months of discussion. Months of point and counterpoint. Months of wanting to tear my damn hair out over some really tough choices. After all that, though, you’ve all helped us settle this. Without further comment, here it is: Fiorentina’s greatest-ever XI.
Subs: Frey, Passarella, Cervato, Chiappella, Valero, Vargas, Toni
“That is an absurdly top-heavy lineup,” you might be thinking, “That would never find the balance necessary to compete in a real match.” First of all, if that’s something you actually thought, I hate you. Second, this team would work really well. Tomas Ujfaluši and Angelo di Livio are the keys: without the former’s ability to play centerback and the latter’s ability to work as a wingback, this would fail miserably. But with Ujfa tucking in and Dunga dropping in to cover for de Livio and Manuel Pasqual, this would actually maintain a pretty balanced defense, especially since Giancarlo Antognoni was a smart and disciplined enough player to drop deep when necessary. Finally, it wouldn’t matter even if the defense was a bit shaky (which I don’t think it would be) because Francesco Toldo, that’s why.
Further forward, Kurt Hamrin’s darts inside would open space for Pasqual’s overlapping. The lack of width on the right only really pops up on the diagram, as de Livio’s energy up and down that flank would easily have covered both attack and defense. And oh my goodness, just imagine the interplay between Roberto Baggio and Rui Costa, with both of them finding space, combining, and then setting up Gabriel Batistuta. This attack would be simply irresistible and I would give a couple of toes to see it in real life, and you know that a forward-thinking manager like Cesare Prandelli would get the best out of them.