I’ve done a city trip to Valencia a couple of years ago. Four days in March. Bad luck with the weather but a lovely city nonetheless. The amazing festival Las Fallas, the modern part of Valencia with the Ciutat de les Arts. The huge park splitting the city centre in two halves, a zoo, beaches, a harbor, lively Mercado Central, its own colosseum called Plaza de Toros, big universities, yes, yes Valencia has it all. It’s not as crowded as a Madrid or Barcelona, making it more cozy and enjoyable than those two cities.
Those were only four days, imagine spending six months there. I’d check every street, stone, and corner of the place, learn Spanish and mingle with the locals (“hola guapa!”). And while a certain Alessandro Florenzi won’t have a lot of spare time each and every day, he’ll have more than enough left to spend in the vivid Spanish city. After 28 years in Roma (excluding a short loan to Crotone in 2011), it was time for a change.
After Francesco and Daniele, Alessandro’s the third Roman captain that leaves the club. Francesco quit football, Daniele moved to Argentina. Florenzi’s choice isn’t as drastic. He joins Valencia CF on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea for six months: no bonuses, no obligations, no options, no strings attached. Just a quick in and out. I’m 99% sure Florenzi did it because he doesn’t want to lose his place in the Italian NT and Euro 2020 begins within four months.
Under Fonseca, things weren’t going smoothly for him so it’s actually a smart thing to do, on a professional level. There are no quarrels, no fights, no drama with the media. Just plain business. Florenzi himself has been rather silent about the deal, kudos to him for not making a fuzz about it.
At Valencia he’ll enter a dog fight for the CL places, just like at Roma. Real and Barca will occupy the first two spots, that’s certain. But for the other two spots there are handful of teams battling it out between themselves: Sevilla, Valencia, Atletico, Sociedad and surprise package Getafe. And watch out for Villareal or Bilbao who are not far behind too.
Valencia are fresh from a 2-0 win against Barcelona so it proves they’re no pushovers this season (although Roma once won 3-0 so puh, losers). Albert Celades is the coach, a former Real and Barcelona player. 4-4-2 is their current formation which actually suits Florenzi damn fine. Against Barcelona Daniel Wass and Ferran Torres played on the right side. Wass is a Danish experienced player who can play pretty much anywhere in midfield or on the wings, kinda like Florenzi. Ferran Torres is a local boy and upcoming talent.
But Valencia have a lot more firepower in their ranks though: Goncalo Guedes, Kondogbia, Cheryshev, Rodrigo and the Korean talent Lee Kang. It won’t be easy to claim his place in the starting line-up. But in the 4-4-2 Florenzi has at least three positions he can aspire to: RB, RW and LW. Valencia’s right in the middle of a CL hunt in the Primera Division and have a big chance of progressing in the Champions League itself this season, they host newcomers Atalanta in the knock-outs. They’re still also in the Copa del Rey. Busy but entertaining times ahead for Los Che and Florenzi can be part of it. No doubt he’ll enjoy this challenge and give his all for the team.
The main question is: Will we see Florenzi back in giallo e rosso one day? Who knows, your guess is as good as mine. Six months is a long time in football, a lot can change. This move is 99% because of the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament. Once that is done, Florenzi just returns to Rome and will resume pre-season at Roma... But for how long?
This club and management has shown us it’s not afraid to kill its darlings (Totti, De Rossi but also Salah, Alisson, Marquinhos, Benatia, Pjanic, Nainggolan, Lamela and many more). For now Santon, Spinazzola and even Peres will share the minutes at rightback, don’t be shocked if you see Cetin there as well. Plus, Roma can always buy new rightbacks next summer.
Whatever happens (Valencia win the CL, Italy win Euro 2020, Roma go bankrupt), I’ll welcome back Florenzi with open arms in July. I believe this is not a farewell, this Summer we’ll start with a clean slate. It’s just a small footnote in Florenzi’s grand Roman career.
And if not, well.. I already survived the departure of two Roman legends in a very short time span, I think I can cope with a third one too.