How To Ruin A Season, by Adrian MutuBy: The Offside | May 6th, 2008
It has been an altogether fantastic season for the Viola, their first with a clean slate after the turmoil of Calciopoli. They’ve spent most of the season in fourth place and made a deep run into the UEFA Cup, before running into the Scottish team bus. Boasting a young, promising nucleus, the two unquestioned stars of the side have been two veterans in Sebastian Frey, creeping into that Buffon, Cech & Cassillas pantheon and clearly the best player on the team, and Adrian Mutu, the leader of the outfield.
As much as Fiorentina has been good, Milan has been poor, magnified by their Champions League title capture just last season. Enabling Fiorentina to make a sustained assault on Champions League football, a feast they haven’t been able to taste, but an aroma they’ve known for a few years now. The spot was theirs until last weekend, when Milan finally leapfrogged the Viola and into fourth place with a derby win and a Fiorentina loss to the scrappiest team in calcio, Cagliari.
What’s more important than the actual loss – they’re still but one point off Milan in fourth place with a favorable remaining schedule – is that during that loss Adrian Mutu managed a yellow card, and in the aftermath had some not so nice things to say to the ref who subsequently sent him off (3:15). Well the FIGC came down hard today, and with two games left and that priceless fourth CL spot still up for grabs, he was handed a two game suspension, ending his season. Simply, a veteran has to know better, suck it up and move on.
While they still have Frey, a sure bet to save one or two goals a game, the Viola will always have a chance. La viola also have a mighty talented squad and Cesare Prandelli, one of the most gifted tacticians in Italia, at the helm, and they’ve slain some mighty big squads without Mutu. However, that still does not excuse your offensive catalyst and attacking mastermind from placing himself on the sidelines for the two most important rounds of the season.
They may make the Champions League or they may not. But they could certainly use their best offensive player in the attempt. What makes this worse is all the stories of Mutu turning his career around in Firenze. Quite frankly, he’s been doing it all season. Same old Mutu, and it just might cost Fiorentina a Champions League campaign.