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VN Brain Trust: What’s your favorite Prandelli moment?

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Fiorentina’s longest-serving coach is a popular man, and he’s given us a lot of wonderful memories.

ACF Fiorentina v Parma Calcio - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Every couple of weeks, the Viola Nation writers get together to hash out the answers to the most important Fiorentina questions. Here’s what we talked about this week.

What is your favorite memory of Cesare Prandelli at Fiorentina?

Ben: As maybe the only person here who wasn’t a fan during the first Prandelli era, my first memory of Prandelli remains my favorite. I became obsessed with footy due to the 2010 World Cup, and by the time the next Euros rolled around I was prepared to take in every match I could. I had written off Italy due to their horrible performance in South Africa, as well as a squad that was less talented in just about every metric than before. However, I hadn’t taken Prandelli into account. I watched nearly every Italy match that tournament and fell in love with the team, a weird group that came together at the right time to win matches and came so close to winning it all. Prandelli himself optimized a cool and serene confidence that still oozes through the camera when I rewatch Fiorentina matches from his first era here. Although his second time here was not as successful, the 3-0 Christmas miracle against Juve will forever be a gift that us Viola fans will cherish. Thank you, Cesare!

NickyNutella: When most people think of Cesare’s tenure with Fiorentina they think of the 2010 Champions League run or all the Serie A success. My favorite Cesare moment actually came this year when he became caretaker. Things obviously went haywire, but he came back out of an abundance of love for the club. Football is a very fickle game and loyalty is becoming increasingly hard to come by these days. Cesare is a day one, a ride or die, a real one. I’ve ranted enough about the state of the club, but Cesare has been nothing short of class for us. I’ll always remember him as the person first and the coach second. He didn’t deserve what happened to him. Grazie per tutti, Cesare!

Tito: Seems like bad times with Cesare are a theme today. For me, it’s how he handled himself when the Della Valles pretty well threw him out of Florence in 2010. It served as a pretty sorry conclusion to the longest coaching tenure in club history. If you’d forgotten, here’s the nutshell version: after a disappointing 11th placed finish in Serie A (and a Champions League run that only ended due to the worst I’ve ever seen over two legs), Prandelli was tapped by Italy. The DVs insisted that San Cesare wanted to leave so he could coach the Azzurri and told everyone that he felt he’d outgrown them. Prandelli, who wanted to stay at Fiorentina, gracefully stepped down from the Viola job and took over the national team.

He could’ve easily dragged Fiorentina through the mud for turning its back on him after a single down season (especially one marred by a lengthy absence from Adrian Mutu). Instead, he didn’t tell anyone until years later, when Diego Della Valle accused him of quitting on Italy as well. That willingness to keep a personal slight close to his puffy vest for so long, just because he thought it would hurt the team and the fans, means he’ll always have a special place in my heart.