There’s something about the Chiesas and the city of Florence that just seems to work. Fifteen years after his father won the hearts of the viola faithful, Federico Chiesa is now making a name for himself in Tuscany.
Federico Chiesa: Fact File
Position: Attacking midfielder (right)
Preferred foot: Right.
Height: 175 cm.
Weight: 70 kg.
International caps: Italy U-19 (3), Italy U-20 (5).
Having debuted against Juventus in the first game of the season, it was clear to see that Paulo Sousa had high aspirations for Chiesa. Along with Federico Bernardeschi, Chiesa is among the league’s most exciting young players giving the Fiorentina fans something to cheer about. While the winger started the season quietly, he has since picked it up.
After his debut against the bianconeri, Chiesa largely featured as a super-sub for Fiorentina, struggling to make an impact. With Fiorentina languishing in mid-table without any notable reinforcements, it was then that Sousa opted to give Chiesa more playing time. The 19-year-old made the most of his chances and promptly found the back of the net in his side’s Europa League clash against Qarabag FK. He also got sent off in that game, but aren’t all the best players a bit mad? After that clash, Sousa displayed more faith in him and soon enough, Chiesa was getting regular minutes in Serie A.
Just four days after his first goal with the first team, Chiesa registered his first assist against Sassuolo. A subtle body feint to the left, an explosion to his right past his man and a pinpoint low cross into Nikola Kalinic later, Chiesa was finally demonstrating what he was capable of. In the weeks that followed, the winger played significant minutes against Napoli, Chievo and Juventus.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet against the Italian champions, you could tell there was just something special about Chiesa. When in possession, he way toying with Juventus’ experienced backline and eventually won himself four fouls on the night. In addition to winning his side timely fouls, the Fiorentina man was a constant threat and added two key passes. He nearly even got himself a goal when he got in front of Alex Sandro on Fiorentina’s second goal. Even if he didn’t deflect it like he intended to, Chiesa had done enough to put off Buffon’s vision behind him. From that game on, Chiesa began playing with a newfound confidence.
In his side’s next game against Chievo, Chiesa put in a man-of-the-match performance and notched his first Serie A goal of his young career. It wasn’t the most explosive of finishes but Chiesa exhibited all the coolness in the world to slot it across a helpless Stefano Sorrentino from the ground. Just a week later, Chiesa found the back of the net again but this time the victim was his hometown, Genoa. After receiving a pass at the edge of the area from Kalinic, Chiesa took a nice touch into the box and smashed a low drive past Eugenio Lamanna. It was his second goal in as many Serie A games and Chiesa was finally starting to hit form.
With Fiorentina trending upwards in the table, Chiesa’s performances are a welcomed prospect as la viola are aiming to reclaim a spot in Europe. Over the next few weeks, Fiorentina and Chiesa will take on the likes of Roma, Milan, Torino and will face off against German side Borussia Moenchengladbach in a two-legged affair in the Europa League. As the season is approaching a crucial point, Chiesa is heating up. Factor in the additions of Riccardo Saponara and Marco Sportiello along with his good form and Fiorentina are primed for a strong second half of the season. At a time where Italian talents seem to be emerging almost weekly, is Federico Chiesa Italy’s next big thing? The initial signs are encouraging and having a historic calcio namesake like Chiesa is undoubtedly a good omen.