Vieri’s Florentine Renaissance
When Fiorentina’s sporting director Pantaleo Corvino convinced the club to sign 34-year-old Christian Vieri last summer, many people in Italian football thought he had gone mad.
Three months into the new season, after some impressive performances – and vital goals -in the league and UEFA Cup, Fiorentina’s supporters had taken Vieri to their hearts while some of the reporters who had earlier written him off were musing about a possible call-up for Italy. Even Fabio Capello, the former coach of Juventus, Roma and Real Madrid, joined the chorus for Vieri’s international recall.
With Luca Toni leaving Fiorentina for Bayern Munich in the summer and the club’s promising young striker, Giampaolo Pazzini, still learning his craft, Corvino identified Vieri as both mentor and cover for Pazzini. As FIFA magazine went to press, Corvino was negotiating an extension to Vieri’s initial one-year contract. It was confirmation that one of the most lethal finishers in football was back in business.