There were fears that Fiorentina would never play in the top flight again after the catastrophic summer of 2002. The Viola had just been relegated to Serie B and then plunged down another two Divisions after their financial collapse.
The club had lost everything, including their name for a short while as the new team were called Florentia Viola. However, they won promotion to Serie C1 at the first attempt only to be catapulted into Serie B after being ‘invited’ to join the expanded championship. A play-off victory against Perugia ensured that they had their Serie A status back after just 24 months away.
Fiorentina are one of the great clubs in Italian football despite their limited success. They’ve won Lo Scudetto just twice, along with numerous Italian Cups, but they’ve spent the majority of their lifetime in A. In fact they’ve only spent four years outside of the Division since 1931.
Their 2005-06 dream fourth-placed finish ended in tears after the Gigliati were found to be involved in the Calciopoli scandal. The Viola avoided demotion to Serie B on appeal, but despite an initial 19-point penalty managed to qualify for the UEFA Cup the season after.
The Tuscan outfit have qualified for the rebranded Europa League for the last three consecutive seasons now, being eliminated in the semi-finals last season by eventual winners Sevilla.
The summer of 2015 was one of upheaval for the Viola, with Coach Vincenzo Montella replaced by Paulo Sousa, goalkeeper Neto jumping ship for Juventus, and star man Mohamed Salah refusing to return for a second loan spell.
Nonetheless, the campaign began with remarkable success and Fiorentina topped the Serie A table for the first time in almost 20 years, but lost their way as time went on.
Last season saw a familiar pattern emerge, with Sousa coming under intense pressure as the campaign wore on. The Portuguese tactician eventually departed Firenze in June and was replaced by Stefano Pioli, who takes over the hotseat following a stint at Inter.