Fiorentina head into this weekend’s trip to Parma having secured back to back wins for the first time since the beginning of May, with last Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Scudetto chasing Udinese suggesting that Delio Rossi’s Florentine renaissance may finally be getting underway.
However, for midfielder Alessio Cerci the arrival of Rossi has had nothing but a detrimental effect on his often controversial Viola career.
The 24-year-old began the current campaign in much the same style that he finished the last; as an indispensable creative outlet on the right side of a three man forward line, and with a keen eye for goal that saw him net three times in the opening five matches.
However, since replacing the increasingly hapless Sinisa Mihajlovic in November, Rossi has dispensed with the 4-3-3 formation that so suited Cerci’s play, opting initially for a more conservative 4-3-1-2, before shifting to an experimental 3-5-2.
Since being substituted at half time in Rossi’s first game in charge, Cerci has made just five further appearances for the club, including two as a second half substitute and one in a Coppa Italia tie against struggling Serie B side Empoli.
Even Rossi was forced to admit that Cerci had become the unwitting victim of a shift in tactics, saying during the January transfer window; “[He] is a wide attacker with certain characteristics, so he has been penalised by our change to a 3-5-2 system.
“If he gets the chance, it’s best he go express himself elsewhere, otherwise he’ll have to stay in Florence and try to adapt.”
While the winger’s talent has never been called into question, his frosty relationship with the club’s supporters has also seen him unable to settle in Florence since arriving from boyhood club Roma in 2010.
Quoted in World Soccer magazine in December 2011, Cerci said: “The same fans now singing my name were, not long ago, insulting my girlfriend and I in the street.
“I won’t forget. I was the scapegoat. Maybe because I’m young. Maybe because I’m a Roman. I will never run to the north end to celebrate a goal. I’ve been hurt inside.”
This tempestuous relationship was further damaged when his girlfriend revelled in the side’s 3-0 Coppa Italia defeat to Roma via a message on social networking site Facebook.
Factor in a series of disciplinary problems that have seen Cerci punished by his employers for breaking a club imposed curfew and arriving late for a training session, and you have a situation that becomes increasingly untenable for both player and club.
However, a proposed January loan move to Palermo, Genoa or English Premier League side Everton failed to materialise, leaving Cerci without regular first team football and with no hope of making the Azzurri squad for this summer’s European Championship campaign.
Meanwhile, the Viola have been left with a player who has clearly become surplus to requirements, and whose value will only deteriorate with each passing month.
It is an unsatisfactory situation for all concerned, and it can only be hoped that a resolution can be reached at some point, as Cerci is far too promising a talent to spend his weekends languishing on the bench.
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