If last week’s round of Serie A fixtures was dominated by tragedy, then this week’s matches were defined by flashes of beauty peering through the gloom. Across a number of games, there were flashes of brilliance which pierced through the fog for vastly different reasons. Even if, ultimately, the moments meant nothing, the surge of emotion and energy was undeniable.
Let’s begin with the most astounding of all.
The death of Davide Astori was announced on the morning of March 4. The club captain of Fiorentina, he had been expecting to take part in a run-of-the-mill away game against Udinese. Instead, every match in Serie A was postponed in the wake of the news.
The night before, Astori had been playing videogames with the Fiorentina goalkeeper, Marco Sportiello. The next day, as the players sat down to breakfast, his absence was noted. According to coaches, the center back was typically one of the first to rise on a match day.
With all due respect to Juventus supporters, as exciting as it would be to watch you lift your seventh straight Scudetto, the entire planet is behind Napoli’s push for their first title since 1990, when Diego Maradona lifted the Neapolitan club to glory. On Monday, we were given further evidence as to why Napoli is essentially In-N-Out Burger when comparing football clubs to restaurant chains (hell, there’s even a Neapolitan shake on The Secret Menu).
We were all wrong. Let’s take a moment to come together, as a community, and admit that we all assumed the appointment of Gennaro Gattuso as AC Milan manager was absurd to the point of hilarity. Our sides were splitting. Our guffaws echoed along the corridors of the internet. We laughed and we laughed and we laughed.
But we were all wrong.
You see, it turns out that Gattuso might just be exactly what Milan needed.
Apparently, soccer comebacks are all the rage right now. Landon Donovan is back playing with León, Freddy Adu rediscovered his love for soccer with the Las Vegas Lights, Marco Reus is back scoring for Dortmund and now a Gianluigi Buffon Italy return appears imminent.