Fiorentina were assured of 4th position and a Europa League place after winning at Bologna, our 9th away win and a club record. Traditionally la Viola are indomitable at the Artemio Franchi in Florence but less reliable on our travels. It’s been a successful season, given that for most of it we could not call on our main strikers Rossi and Gomez. There have beeen many consistent performers but my player of the season would be the Columbian Juan Caudrado, who scored twice against Bologna. He is a most exciting player with sublime control and a killer shot. Sadly he in unavailable for the final of the Coppa next Saturday in Rome against Benitez Napoli. This will be a tough game as Napoli are in 3rd place 8 points ahead of us.
It’s also sad that Serie a had its fourth Champions League taken away, but that does reflect the decline of Italian football. Neither of the Milan clubs finished in the top 4. Juventus, for the second season running, made the winning of the championship a procession but they fell at the qualifying stage in the Champions League, so it’s hard to make a case for the four teams in the competition.
The success story of the season is Roma. Coach Rudy Garcia, who was at Lille, has done a great job. He bought in Stroodman, Panjani and the best defender in Serie a, Benalia, who forms a formidable partnership with Castan, whilst Gervinho would unrecognisable to Arsenal fans. Add to this di Rossi and an evergreen Totti and you have a powerful outfit. I was very impressed by the efficient way they beat us recently at the Franchi 1-0.
Manager Montella deserves to be backed in the market by the Dalle Valle owners. He is undoubtedly one of the best young Italian coaches and reminds me of Roberto Mancini. He will want to secure Caudrado, coveted all over Europe, before the World Cup and strengthen the forward line. He should be supplying 3 players to the Azzurri: Pasqual, Aquilani, Rossi. We are confident that we can beat England at the group stage.