Monday November 16 2020
Barone: '100 per cent with Prandelli'

Fiorentina CEO Joe Barone wants the fans to 'protect' Cesare Prandelli and said the club are not planning to sign a new striker.

In a long interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Viola CEO clarified that the new coach will get the full support to enhance the performances at the Artemio Franchi and reiterated that the current owner aims for a successful future in Florence.

“We want to bring the team to the level of the city, a global dimension,” Barone told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We need patience, but all the components of the Viola are pushing in this direction.

“The birth of the sports centre is an important step, we want our members to be on the pitch in Bagno a Ripoli in January 2022.

“Finally, there’s the question of the stadium. I feel deeply hurt and expected something more, but I’m not giving up.”

Beppe Iachini was replaced by Cesare Prandelli after seven games and Barone said the results cost him the job.

“We had an honest relationship with Iachini and the greatest respect, but in football you have to look at the results.

“From a human point of view, we are sorry to sack Beppe, but we couldn’t do anything else. It’s a decision shared by all: [President Rocco] Commisso, [sporting director Daniele] Prade and me.

“I say this because someone, in an attempt to disrupt the environment, has spread rumours of a divided club.

“We don’t accept these types of attacks, wherever they come from. And I think the Viola people don’t accept them either. We look ahead.”

The CEO continued to highlight the massive investment made by the current owner and said the President is fully committed to the project.

“With the sports centre and the losses of these first two years, we have reached over €300m,” he said. “I think it’s the largest investment in Fiorentina’s history in such a short time.

“Since last February, not a penny has come in apart from TV rights. Yet, Commisso tells us to keep investing.

“The President has already put a lot of money in Fiorentina, pays members and employees regularly and above all, always puts his heart into it.

“We are 100 per cent united and it’s bad to hear false rumours or invented stories. We respect everyone, we are transparent, and we tell the truth. It would be right to receive the same treatment.”

Barone said coach Prandelli didn’t ask for anything but stressed it was the former Italy CT who wanted to return.

“The truth is that it was Prandelli who wanted Fiorentina. In our first interview, he didn’t ask for a three-year deal and he didn’t tell me he would take us to Europe straight away.

“We talked about football, relationships, joy, the group. He believes in our club that rewards meritocracy and in the value of the current team.

“After this meeting with Prade, we said… I told Rocco that he was the right man.”

Barone expects the players to excel under the new coach, starting with the first game against Benevento this weekend.

“His ideas will enhance our three forwards, [Dusan] Vlahovic, Kouame and [Patrick] Cutrone,” he said. “Cesares football will make Ribery, who sometimes burns energy unnecessarily, even better.

“He will enhance the performance of [Gaetano] Castrovilli, who started well, and that of [Sofyan] Amrabat, who was and remains a great purchase.

“[Jose] Callejon will do something special and [Lucas] Marintez Quarta will do well too.”

Italian media have suggested Fiorentina are interested in Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti to replace Prandelli next summer.

“We are at the beginning of Cesare’s journey and he must work without any kind of hassle, there’s no other coach.

“I ask all the Viola fans to protect Prandelli and to be by his side, we as a club are 100 per cent with him.”

The CEO quashed rumours of bringing in Arkadiusz Milik or Krzysztof Piatek this winter.

“We have the right strikers, full stop. I can’t wait to see them work with Cesare,” Barone continued.

“By the way, after the young coach [Alberto] Aquliani gained experience with Iachini, we have  brought forward another coach from the youth sector and that is [Marco] Donadel.”