Former Fiorentina captain Manuel Pasqual launched a scathing attack on Coach Paulo Sousa. “He doesn’t say things to your face.”
The full-back was not offered a new contract and therefore left after 11 years in Florence, but is not happy with the way his experience ended.
“I thank the Della Valle family, who allowed me to play football in a beautiful city where my children were born,” Pasqual told La Repubblica newspaper.
“I thank the city and the fans, because Sunday May 8 was a special day. I expected a salute, but not such a big deal. It was like a punch to the stomach and the heart. I thought that I’d done well there, but a tribute like that really got me emotional.
“People still stop me in the street by calling me ‘captain.’ My only regret is that I couldn’t finish my career at Fiorentina. I really wanted to.
“I was unable to win anything, despite reaching the Coppa Italia Final and Europa League semi-final, so that does trouble me a bit.
“I still feel that I leave here a winner, because I entered the hearts of the people. This is why I walk out with head high and a smile on my face.
“In today’s football players only remain somewhere if the clubs want them. I’d gladly have stayed and hoped to end my adventure here, as I felt good and wanted to play.
“Last year there was another club interested, but Della Valle insisted I had to remain. I felt great respect, but perhaps he didn’t realise I did not want to be a weight on their shoulders. I never demanded to play regularly.
“Della Valle told me I was not part of Fiorentina’s plans any more. He embraced me, thanked me and said he was sorry, but he did not make that decision.
“I am disappointed that the person who did make the decision didn’t say it to my face. Della Valle had nothing to do with it.”
The reference to Coach Sousa is evident and it seems Pasqual never quite bonded with the Portuguese tactician.
The problems started when Pasqual was stripped of the captain’s armband.
“They gave it back to me to celebrate my 350th game for the club and the final Viola appearance. Just as I wasn’t told when the armband was being taken away, I was also told nothing until the day of the last game.
“The Coach decided, so you’d best ask him why. I think a captain ought to represent the team and the fans. I considered myself the right man and I hope it wasn’t taken away because of my character, as I am proud that I’ve always said things to people’s faces, from the President on down.
“Gonzalo Rodriguez is aware of what it means to be captain. I hope Davide Astori can take my shirt number, as he is my heir.
“When they asked the Coach who had made that decision, it was moved on to President Mario Cognini. It’s a shame that if it was Sousa’s decision, he didn’t just tell me.
“Still, I hope he can do well with this team and next year Fiorentina will have one more fan cheering them on.
“I hope to come back to work for the club one day, but I still see myself as a player. If they were to call me for a new role, I couldn’t say no.
“I only found out 10 days ago that I had to leave Fiorentina. It was tough telling my kids, as they grew up here and it was their home.”
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