Originally written on Finishers Forum  |  Last updated 11/20/14
On May 30, 2010, Cesare Prandelli, the longest serving manager in the illustrious history of AFC Fiorentina, left to replace Marcello Lippi as the head coach of the Italian National Team. Despite a disappointing 11th place finish the previous season, Prandelli left the Florence based club in great shape. Since taking over La Viola in 2002 following their infamous bankruptcy, the Della Valle family, and club director Andrea in particular, had developed a reputation for discovering talented young players to fill out the squad. In his five years in Florence, Prandelli twice guided the club to Champions League qualification (it might have been four times if not for match fixing penalties), including one trip to the round of sixteen in ’09-’10. When Sinisa Mihajlovic took over for the ’10-’11 season, there was a sense of optimism that the team could continue to develop and challenge for the Scudetto without the distraction of European football. Fast forward to May 2012. Delio Rossi has replaced Mihajlovic as manager, but the club has only gone backwards. With three games remaining, the team sits in 17th place and needs two points to secure their place in Serie A for another season. Down 2-0 at home to newly promoted Novara after less than a half hour, Rossi withdraws 20-year-old attacking midfielder Adem Ljajic to change his side’s shape. As Ljajic walks toward the bench he sarcastically applauds his coach, who responds by physically assaulting the player. For a club that had just a few seasons earlier beaten Liverpool at Anfield, this seemed to mark the end of their disappointing freefall toward obscurity. Obviously the manager was fired immediately. They survived the season, but lost their talismanic captain Riccardo Montolivo to AC Milan on a Bosman in the summer. Instead of persisting with a broken and depleted system, the Della Valle family decided to view this as an opportunity to start from scratch. New sporting director Daniele Prade brought in an ambitious young manager in Vincenzo Montella, and completely overhauled the squad in a way that is rarely, if ever, witnessed. Along with Montolivo, many key players from the previous seasons were shipped out to clear space and help fund the new signings. Matija Nastasic made a big money move to Manchester City, Alessandro Gamberini and Valon Behrami were sold to Lazio, Marco Marchionni moved to Parma on a free transfer, Juan Manuel Vargas went on loan to Genoa, Alessio Cerci was sold to FC Turin, and Lorenzo De Silvestri went on loan to Sampdoria, among many others. Most importantly however, Fiorentina were able to keep hold of €30m rated striker Stevan Jovetic despite strong interest from Chelsea. So many fresh faces arrived in Florence this summer that 17 of the 26 senior players are new. Among the arrivals was a quartet of midfield playmakers in Alberto Aquilani, David Pizarro, Borja Valero, and Matias Fernandez, as well as former Italian international striker Luca Toni, Argentinian international defender Gonzalo Rodriguez, and Italian international goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano. After making a slow start to the ’12-’13 campaign, which was to be expected after the overhaul, Fiorentina have begun to gel with devastating results. They play an entertaining, attacking 3-6-1 based on a midfield packed with technically gifted players. Fiorentina traveled to the San Siro last weekend to face an AC Milan side featuring their former captain Montolivo at center midfield, on the back of three consecutive league wins. Youthful 35-year-old Luca Toni led the attack in the absence of the injured Stevan Jovetic, and Fiorentina thoroughly outplayed a struggling Milan side to grab a well-deserved 3-1 win. The result leaves la Viola in fourth place, although considering their form and the imminent return of Jovetic, it’s conceivable they could pass Napoli and Inter Milan to move into second place behind Juventus very quickly. Vincenzo Montella seems to be doing a difficult job extremely well. He is turning an expensive rebuilding project into a formidable team, early enough that they’re in a position to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dolphins teammate on Dion Jordan: It’s a bad situation

Texans reportedly the favorite to be featured on ‘Hard Knocks’

Report: Goodell will not recuse himself from Brady appeal

Will Smith suspended eight games for 'foreign substance'

Report: Kobe Bryant likely to retire following next season


Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

The Los Angeles Angels are finally finding their groove

Re-evaluating all 30 MLB teams at the quarter mark, ranked

Is virtual reality training the next leap forward for football?

Warriors a very shaky 2-0 against the Rockets

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Soccer News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.