Mutu: ‘You could tell that Italiano was going to be a coach’


Former Fiorentina striker Adrian Mutu says he always knew Vincenzo Italiano would be a coach and believes the Viola have what it takes to lift the Conference League. The former Romanian international previewed the match with La Gazzetta dello Sport, and spoke about his time in Firenze and attachment to the club:

“I have Florence in my heart. Always. Italiano? We played together for two years in Verona. Grit, vision, and passion have always been his trademarks. And then…”.

“I haven’t called Vincenzo,” adds Mutu , “you don’t do that before the game: he knows how we are in football, superstitious. I’ll call him after the match hoping to hear him happy.”

Have you followed Fiorentina this year?

“Of course, many times. They have a characteristic: the grit of their coach. Plus, they play an important style of football.”

Does today’s Italiano reflect his playing days?

“He saw the game, he seemed like a coach in action. You could tell that he and Colucci would become coaches. Vincenzo absorbed, studied, understood instantly. And, I repeat, he had grit, the passion of someone who wants to make it. And that always counts a lot in football, almost everything. If you want to reach the top, you act accordingly.”

A final is?

“It’s the kind of match where all that matters is winning. No frills, no panic, no fancy stuff. Cynicism, in certain cases, is everything. There’s no need to put on a show. Even ugly but winning: you need balance, goals, and patience. The rest, including motivation, is there: I have to compliment Vincenzo because it’s clear he knows how to make his players listen.”

On the other side is Jovetic: Jojo said it feels like a movie…

“An incredible coincidence. I spoke to him recently: this year he’s had some physical problems, I don’t know if he’ll start but if he gets on the field, Jove is always one of the best. You have to watch out for the ex-player scoring, always… So, watch out for him too, one of… ours, meaning one of those guys with whom we almost made a breakthrough in the UEFA and Champions League.”

Beautiful but very bitter memories.

“We almost made it to the final against Rangers Glasgow in 2008: then Vieri got injured, and Liverani missed the penalties. And in the Champions League, well, that match against Bayern Munich in 2010 still doesn’t sit well with me. The offside by meters that wasn’t called (referee, Ovrebo, ed): if VAR had been there, we would have made it to the final and who knows where… I hope today’s Viola boys can reclaim everything we left behind.”

Frey told us that Nico Gonzalez resembles you a bit.

“He wears the number 10, right? In number, yes…”. Laughs. Pause. “Joking aside: I’ve seen him score beautiful goals, he has an extra gear, he has important and interesting skills. Let’s say he needs to be a bit more careful with penalties.”

The player to bet on?

“Wait: through this conversation, let me send a ‘good luck’ to all the Viola fans. They are in my heart. I’ve always bet, and not just recently, on Bonaventura: he provides balance, goals, drive, and play. And I like Sottil, a bit inconsistent but I know he’s been injured. This team seems very mature to me, these are growths that come over the years. Decisive growths, I hope.”


Serie A obsessive.