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ACF Fiorentina

ACF Fiorentina, commonly referred to as simply Fiorentina, is a professional Italian football club from Florence, Tuscany. Founded by a merger in 1926, Fiorentina have played at the top level of Italian football for the majority of their existence; only four clubs have played in more Serie A seasons. After climbing back up the Italian football system in the early 2000s, Fiorentina are currently competing in the 2008–09 Serie A season.

Fiorentina have won Serie A twice, in 1955–56 and again in 1968–69, as well as winning six Coppa Italia trophies. On the European stage Fiorentina won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1960–61, they finished runners-up in the UEFA Cup 1989–90 and also came close to winning the biggest European prize, finishing as runners-up in the European Cup during 1956–57.

Since 1931 the club have played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which currently has a capacity of 47,282. The stadium has used several names over the years and has undergone several renovations. Fiorentina are known widely by the nickname Viola; a reference to their distinctive purple colours.

Amongst few others, the club's supporters share a goodwill relationship with Liverpool FC .

History

From beginning to World War II

Associazione Calcio Fiorentina was founded in the autumn of 1926 by noble and local National Fascist Party member Luigi Ridolfi,, who initiated the merger of two older Florentine clubs; CS Firenze and PG Libertas. The purpose of the merger was to give Florence a strong club to rival those of the more dominant Italian Football Championship sides of the time from North-West Italy. Also influential was the cultural revival and rediscovery of Calcio Fiorentino, an ancestor of modern football which was played by members of the Medici family.

The club reached Serie A for the first time in 1929. After a rough beginning and three seasons in lower championships, Fiorentina reached Serie A in 1931. That same year saw the opening of the new stadium, originally named Giovanni Berta, after a prominent fascist and now known as Franchi. At the time the stadium was a masterpiece of engineering, and its inauguration was monumental. To compete with the best teams in Italy, Fiorentina strengthened their team with some new players, notably the Uruguayan Pedro Petrone, nicknamed el Artillero. Despite having a good season and finishing in fourth place, Fiorentina were relegated the next year, although they would return quickly to Serie A. In 1941 they won their first Coppa Italia, but in 1940s the team could manage nothing better, both because of World War II and for other troubles.

First scudetto and '50-'60s

It was in 1950 that Fiorentina started to achieve consistent top-five finishes in the domestic league. They formed a good team consisting of great players like the well-known goalkeeper Giuliano Sarti, Sergio Cervato, Francesco Rosella, Guido Gratton, Giuseppe Chiappella and above all the attacking duo of Brazilian Julinho and Argentinian Miguel Montuori. This team won Fiorentina's first scudetto (Italian championship) in 1955-56 after a triumphal ending. The following year they finished runners-up behind AC Milan, but more significantly they became the first Italian team to play in a European Cup final, when a disputed penalty led to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of by Alfredo Di Stefano's Real Madrid. Fiorentina were runners-up again in the three subsequent seasons. In the 1960-61 season the club won the Coppa Italia again and was also successful in Europe, winning the first Cup Winners' Cup against Rangers.

After several years of runner-up finishes, in the 1960s Fiorentina dropped away slightly, bouncing from 4th to 6th place, although the club won the Coppa Italia and the Mitropa Cup in 1966.

Second scudetto and '70s

While the 1960s had held some trophies and good Serie A finishes for Fiorentina, nobody believed that the club could compete for the title. Serie A 1968-69 started with AC Milan leading the way, but on matchday 7 they lost against Bologna FC and were overtaken by Gigi Riva's Cagliari Calcio. Fiorentina, after a not brilliant start, moved to the top of the Serie A, but the first half of their season finished with a 2-2 draw against Varese, leaving Cagliari as outright league leader. The second half of the season was a three-way battle between the three contending teams, Milan, Cagliari and Fiorentina. Milan fell away, instead focusing on the European Cup, and it seemed that Cagliari would retain top spot, but they lost against Juventus and Fiorentina took over at the top. The team then won all of their remaining matches, beating rivals Juventus in Turin on the penultimate matchday to seal their second, and last, national title. In the European Cup competition the following year Fiorentina had some good results, including a win in the USSR against Dynamo Kiev. But they were eventually knocked out in the quarter finals after a 3-0 defeat in Glasgow by the brilliant Glasgow Celtic team of that period.

Viola players began the 1970s decade with scudetto sewed on their breast, but the period was not particularly fruitful. After a 5th place in 1971, they finished in mid-table almost every year, even flirting with relegation in 1972 and 1978. The Viola did the Anglo-Italian League Cup in 1974 and won the Coppa Italia again in 1975. The team consisted of young talents like Vincenzo Guerini and Moreno Roggi, who had the misfortune to suffer bad injuries, and above all Giancarlo Antognoni, who would become later an idol of Fiorentina's fans. The young average age of the players led to the team being called Fiorentina Ye-Ye.

Pontello era

In 1980 Fiorentina was bought by Flavio Pontello, from a rich house-builder family. He soon changed the team's anthem and logo, causing some complaints by the fans, but he started to bring in high-quality players such as Francesco Graziani and Eraldo Pecci from Torino, Daniel Bertoni from Seville, Daniele Massaro from Monza and a young Pietro Vierchowod from Sampdoria. The team was built around Giancarlo Antognoni, and in Serie A 1981-82 Fiorentina were embroiled in an exciting duel with their rival Juventus. After a bad injury to Antognoni, the league title was decided on the final day of the season, when Fiorentina were denied a goal against Cagliari and were unable to win. Juventus won the title with a disputed penalty, and the rivalry between the two teams exploded.

The following years were strange for Fiorentina, who vacillated between high finishes and relegation battles. Fiorentina also bought two interesting players, el Puntero Ramon Diaz and, most significantly, the young Roberto Baggio.

In 1990 Fiorentina fought to avoid relegation right until the final day of the season, but reached the UEFA Cup final, where they again faced Juventus. The Turin team won the trophy, but Fiorentina's tifosi once again had real cause for complaint: the second leg final was played in Avellino (Fiorentina's home ground was suspended), a city with a lot of Juventus' fans, and Roberto Baggio was sold to the rival team on the day of the final. Pontello, suffering from economic difficulties, was selling all the players and was forced to leave the club after serious riots in Florence's streets. The club was then acquired by the famous filmmaker Mario Cecchi Gori.

Cecchi Gori era

The first season of Cecchi Gori ownership was of settling, then the new chairman started to sign some good players like Brian Laudrup, Stefan Effenberg, Francesco Baiano and, most of all, Gabriel Batistuta, whom would have become the authentic symbol of the team for '90s period. But in 1993 Mario Cecchi Gori died, and his son Vittorio got the management. Despite a good start of season, the new chairman fired the trainer Luigi Radice calling Aldo Agroppi: the results were dreadful and Fiorentina fell in the lower part of the standing, being relegated at the last match. Trained by Claudio Ranieri, they dominated the next season in Serie B (second division) in 1993-1994. Upon return to Serie A, the club organized a good team focused on the new topscorer Batistuta and signing the young talent Manuel Rui Costa from SL Benfica and the new world champion Brazilian defender Marcio Santos: the first became an idol for Fiorentina fans, the second disappointed and was sold after only a season; anyway Viola reached a quiet saviour.

Next season Cecchi Gori bought other important players like Stefan Schwarz: the club again proved able in the cup competitions, winning the Coppa Italia against Atalanta BC, and finishing the season in the 3rd place of the domestic league. In the summer, Fiorentina was the first non national champion to achieve Supercoppa Italiana defeating AC Milan 2-1 at San Siro. The following season the team disappointed in Serie A, but reached Cups Winners' Cup semi-finals beating Gloria Bistrita (Away 1-1, Home 1-0) Sparta Prague (Home 2-1, Away 1-1), SL Benfica (Away 2-0, Home 0-1) but suffering the eventual winner of the competition, FC Barcelona (Away 1-1, Home 0-2): main signing of the seasons were Luis Oliveira and Andrei Kanchelskis, the last suffering a lot of injuries.

At the end of the season Ranieri left Fiorentina and Cecchi Gori appointed Alberto Malesani: Fiorentina played well but suffered some strange losses against little teams, but managed to get a qualification in UEFA Cup. Malesani left Fiorentina after only a season and then arrived Giovanni Trapattoni: with the expert coach and dragged by Batistuta's goals, Fiorentina competed for the title in 1998-99 but reached only the third position at the end of the season, ensuring them anyway a spot for an historical UEFA Champions League qualification. The following year Serie A was disappointing but Viola played historical matches in Champions League, beating Arsenal FC 1-0 at the old Wembley Stadium and Manchester United 2-0 in Florence. They were eliminated in the second group stage. At the end of the season Trapattoni left the society, which opted for the Turkish Fatih Terim; but most of all Batistuta was sold to AS Roma, which eventually had won the title the following year. In Serie A 2000-01 Fiorentina played well and competed in the higher part of the ranking, despite the sacking of Terim and the arrival of Roberto Mancini, winning also Coppa Italia for the sixth and last time.

2001 heralded major changes for Fiorentina, as the terrible state of the club's finances was revealed; they were unable to pay wages and had debts of around USD 50 million. The club owner, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, was able to raise some more money, but even this soon proved to be insufficient resources to sustain the club. Then, Fiorentina were relegated at the end of the 2001-02 season and went into judicially controlled administration in June 2002. This form of bankruptcy (sports companies cannot exactly fail in this way in Italy, but they can suffer a similar procedure) meant that the club was refused a place in Serie B for the 2002-03 season, and as a result, effectively ceased to exist.

Della Valle era

The club was promptly re-established in August 2002 as Associazione Calcio Fiorentina e Florentia Viola with shoe and leather entrepreneur Diego Della Valle as new owner, and was admitted into Serie C2, the fourth tier of Italian football. The only player to remain at the club as they began their new life was Angelo Di Livio, whose commitment to the cause of resurrecting the club further endeared him to the fans. Helped by Di Livio and 30-goal striker Christian Riganò, the club won its Serie C2 group with considerable ease at the end of the 2002–03 season, which would normally have led to a promotion to Serie C1. However, due to the bizarre Caso Catania (Catania Case) the club skipped Serie C1 and was admitted into Serie B; this was possible only because the Italian Football Federation chose to resolve the Catania situation by increasing the number of teams in Serie B from 20 to 24, and promoting Fiorentina for "sports merits". In the 2003 off-season, the club also bought back the right to use the Fiorentina name and the famous shirt design, and re-incorporated itself as ACF Fiorentina.

The club's unusual double promotion was not without controversy, with some suggesting that Fiorentina did not deserve it; however, the club remained in Serie B and managed to finish the 2003–04 season in sixth place. This achievement placed the Viola in a two-legged playoff against Perugia Calcio (the 15th-place finisher in Serie A) for a top flight place for the next season. Fiorentina completed their remarkable comeback by winning the match 2–1 on aggregate, with both goals scored by Enrico Fantini, to gain promotion back to Serie A. In their first season back in Italian football's top flight, the club struggled to avoid relegation, securing survival only on the last day of the season, and avoiding a relegation playoff only on head-to-head record against Bologna and Parma.

In 2005–06, Fiorentina hired Cesare Prandelli as new head coach and made several signings during the summer transfer market, most notably Palermo 20-goal striker Luca Toni and French goalkeeper Sebastian Frey. The combination of defence by captain Dario Dainelli and Czech international regular Tomáš Ujfaluši, midfield by Cristian Brocchi, wing by Martin Jorgensen, playmaking by Stefano Fiore and key marksman Luca Toni with Sebastian Frey as goalkeeper proved to be an outstanding force in Serie A, giving them a final fourth place with 74 points, awarding them a spot for the third qualifying round of the Champions League. Fiorentina thus officially regained their status as an Italian elite, especially with Toni himself having scored an amazing 31 goals in just 34 appearances, the first player to pass the 30 goal mark since Antonio Valentin Angelillo in the 1958–59 season, which has seen him claim the European Golden Boot.

On July 14, 2006 Fiorentina were however relegated to Serie B due to their involvement in the 2006 Serie A match fixing scandal and given a 12 point penalty. The team was later reinstated to the Serie A on appeal, albeit with a 19 point penalty for the 2006–07 season. The team also lost their UEFA Champions League 2006–07 place. After the start of the season, upon appealing to the Italian courts, Fiorentina's penalization was reduced to 15 points from 19.

Despite starting the 2006–2007 season with the 15-point penalty, Fiorentina managed to secure a place in the 2007–2008 edition of the UEFA Cup. The combination of Luca Toni and Adrian Mutu proved to be one of Serie A's most proficient strike partnerships, scoring 31 goals between them.

While many doubted the potential of the Viola in the 2007–2008 season due to Luca Toni's departure, Fiorentina had a sensational start to the season and had been tipped by Marcello Lippi and other prominent names in Calcio as surprise potential Scudetto challengers. However this form tailed off towards the middle of the season with various disappointing losses in connection with a grievous family loss suffered by club manager Prandelli. They also reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cup, where they were ultimately defeated by Rangers on penalties after two 0–0 ties, despite having the majority of possession and shots on goal, they were unable to make it count and ultimately failed to progress past the strong Rangers team. The season ended on a high note as Fiorentina defeated Torino 1-0 on the season's final day to secure a UEFA Champions League spot at the expense of AC Milan.

On August 27, 2008, Fiorentina advanced to the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, defeating Slavia Prague 2-0 on aggregate.

Players

For transfers, see ACF Fiorentina season 2008-09#Transfers.

Current squad

As of October 10, 2008

Out on loan

Notable players

Managerial history

Fiorentina have had many managers and head coaches throughout their history, below is a chronological list of them from when they were founded in 1926 by a merger, until the present day.
 
Name Nationality Years
Károly Csapkay 1926–1928
Károly Csapkay
Gyula Feldmann

1928–1930
Gyula Feldmann 1930–1931
Hermann Felsner 1931–1933
William Rady 1933
Ferenc Ging 1933–1934
Guido Ara 1934–1937
Ottavio Baccani 1937–1938
Ferenc Molnar 1938
Rudolf Soutschek 1938–1939
Giuseppe Galluzzi 1939–1945
Guido Ara 1946
Renzo Magli 1946–1947
Imre Senkey 1947
Luigi Ferrero 1947–1951
Renzo Magli 1951–1953
Fulvio Bernardini 1953–1958
Lajos Czeizler 1958–1959
Luigi Ferrero 1959
Luis Carniglia 1959–1960
Giuseppe Chiappella 1960
Nándor Hidegkuti 1960–1962
Ferruccio Valcareggi 1962–1964
Giuseppe Chiappella 1964–1967
Luigi Ferrero 1967–1968
Andrea Bassi 1968
Bruno Pesaola 1968–1971
Oronzo Pugliese 1971
Nils Liedholm 1971–1973
Luigi Radice 1973–1974
 
Name Nationality Years
Nereo Rocco 1974–1975
Carlo Mazzone 1975–1977
Mario Mazzoni 1977–1978
Giuseppe Chiappella 1978
Paolo Carosi 1978–1981
Giancarlo De Sisti 1981–1985
Ferruccio Valcareggi 1985
Aldo Agroppi 1985–1986
Eugenio Bersellini 1986–1987
Sven-Göran Eriksson 1987–1989
Bruno Giorgi 1989–1990
Francesco Graziani 1990
Sebastião Lazaroni 1990–1991
Luigi Radice 1991–1993
Aldo Agroppi 1993
Luciano Chiarugi 1993
Claudio Ranieri 1993–1997
Alberto Malesani 1997–1998
Giovanni Trapattoni 1998–2000
Fatih Terim 2000–2001
Luciano Chiarugi 2001
Roberto Mancini 2001
Ottavio Bianchi 2001–2002
Luciano Chiarugi 2002
Eugenio Fascetti 2002
Pietro Vierchowod 2002
Alberto Cavasin 2002–2003
Emiliano Mondonico 2003–2004
Sergio Buso 2004–2005
Dino Zoff 2005
Cesare Prandelli 2005–present

Social identity

Badge

The official emblem of the city of Florence; a red and white fleur-de-lis; has played a pivotal role in the all round symbolism of the club.

Over the course of the club's history they have had several badge changes, all of which incorporated Florence's fleur-de-lis in some way. The first one was nothing more than the city's coat of arms, that is a white shield with the red fleur-de-lis inside. It was soon changed for a very stylized fleur-de-lis, always red, sometimes even without a white field. The most common symbol, adopted for about twenty years, had been a white lozenge with the flower inside. Only during the season they were Italian champions, the lozenge disappeared and the flower was overlapped with the scudetto.

A particularly noted logo, was one which was half made up of the city of Florence's emblem and half made up of an "F" standing for Fiorentina. When introduced by the new owner Flavio Pontello, people disliked it believing it was an advertising commercial decision and, most of all, the symbol bore more of a resemblance to an alabard rather than a fleur-de-lis.

Today's logo is a gold bordered lozenge with a purple background, and the letters "AC" in white and the letter "F" in red, standing for the club's name. In the upper half, there is another gold bordered lozenge inside it, this time with a white background and the red fleur-de-lis of Florence. This had been in use from 1992 to 2002, but after the financial crisis of the old society the new one couldn't use the same logo. Florence's comune, then, granted them the stylized coat of arms of the city used in other documents. Diego Della Valle acquired the logo the next year in a judicial auction for a fee of €2.5 million, thus making it the most expensive logo in Italian football.

Kit and colours

Originally when Fiorentina was founded in 1926, the red and white halves shirts were derived from the colour of the city emblem. The more well known and highly distinctive purple kit was adopted in 1928 and has been theirs ever since; giving them the nickname La viola ("The Purple (team)"). Traditionally it is said that the purple kit became Fiorentina's by mistake, after an accident washing the old red and white coloured kits in the river.

The away kit has always been white, sometimes with purple and red elements: actually is all-white. The shorts had been purple when the home kit was with white shorts. While the away is traditionally white, Fiorentina had some third shirts. The first one was presented in 95-96 season and it was all-red with purple borders and two lilys on the shoulders. The red shirt has been the most worn 3rd shirt by Fiorentina, altough they wore also rare yellow shirts ('97-98 and '99-00) and a sterling version, most of all in Coppa Italia, in 2000-01.

Kit evolution

World Cup winners

Honours

National titles

Serie A: 2
*Champions : 1955–56; 1968–69

Coppa Italia: 6

*Winners : 1939–40; 1960–61; 1965–66; 1974–75; 1995–96; 2000–01

Supercoppa Italiana: 1

*Winners : 1996

Europeans titles

European Cup / UEFA Champions League:
*Runners-up (1): 1956–57

UEFA Cup:

*Runners-up (1): 1989–90

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1

*Champions : 1960–61
*Runners-up (1): 1961-62

Minor titles

Mitropa Cup:
*Winners: 1966

Anglo-Italian League Cup: 1

*Winners: 1975

Memorial Pier Cesare Baretti

*Winners (1): 1989

References

External links

Full Name : Associazione Calcio Fiorentina e Florentia Viola

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