Antognoni: ‘Fiorentina wanted me out’

Fiorentina legend Giancarlo Antognoni hit out at the Viola after leaving the club. ‘The owners want me out of the first team, that is the issue.’

A statement from the Viola this evening noted they had offered the Club Manager a new role as Technical Director of the youth academy.

However, he turned it down, considering this to still be a way of pushing him down the pecking order and ruling him out of the decision-making process.

“The owners want me out of the first team, that is the issue,” legendary midfielder Antognoni told news agency ANSA.

“I am leaving Fiorentina, but not Florence. The Viola jersey and its splendid fans will always remain in my gratitude and unconditional love.”

The clashes with President Rocco Commisso and director general Joe Barone had been going on for some months, reaching a head when coach Gennaro Gattuso signed on and then left within three weeks.

There was a crunch meeting today with Barone that did not go well, as described by Antognoni himself.

“I met the director general to evaluate if there was a chance of continuing together, but I had to recognise that the position of the club has not changed one bit with regards to downgrading my professional status.

“That is despite my suggestion that I could, along with being technical director of the youth academy, also maintain the role I have overseen with the first team over the years with great pride.

“The two seasons we had together were unsatisfying for everyone, including myself. Undoubtedly, we had to evaluate a different way of proceeding.

“Unfortunately, there was no margin for debate, it was take it or leave it. Even before we had the meeting, I had been invited to vacate my office, which was pretty eloquent by itself…”