Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Luca Toni, the Fiorentina striker, is currently with his 14th different club. Gabriele Maltinti / Getty Images
Luca Toni, the Fiorentina striker, is currently with his 14th different club. Gabriele Maltinti / Getty Images

Luca Toni enjoying an Italian renaissance in Florence

The former Al Nasr striker has been rejuvenated since returning to Italy with Fiorentina, writes Ian Hawkey.

At the end of last week, Luca Toni was talking on local radio in Florence. In Italy, this can often be as sure a sign as empty panettone boxes piled up in residential dustbins after Christmas that a winter transfer window has opened. Toni, as followers of Al Nasr will know, is one of the game's most prolific leapers through transfer windows. In five of the last six periods of trading, he has moved club.

The 35-year-old striker, though, was telling listeners about a possible contract extension rather than hinting at a desire to pack his suitcase. Since leaving the UAE last summer, Toni has had a relatively happy time at Fiorentina, the employer among the 14 he has collected in his career which he is most prone to refer to as closest to his heart. Toni, a late developer, commanded his first eight figure transfer fee - around €8 million (Dh39.3m) - when he joined Fiorentina from Palermo as a 28 year old.

A year later, in 2006, he was winning a World Cup with Italy, and 12 months after that he signed for Bayern Munich where he enjoyed further success before dropping suddenly from favour. The zig-zag wanderings then began.

Six months at Roma; half a season with Genoa; 12 months at Juventus, then the Al Nasr stint on which he has looked back, publicly, with a sneer. The Pro-League is "not true football" he told the Corriere della Sera.

His return to Serie A has been satisfactory for a Fiorentina still pressing for a top-three finish in Serie A, and with that a Uefa Champions League berth. They are also aiming, tonight, against Roma, for a semi-final place in the Coppa Italia. Toni has six goals from 10 starts so far this season, so he is entitled to be talking about extending a deal which expires in June.

But Fiorentina are looking beyond Toni, too. They have taken a studied gamble in the current transfer window by signing Giuseppe Rossi, the Italy international striker, from Villarreal.

It is a gamble because Rossi has been out injured since last April, a setback that cost him his place at Euro 2012. He will not be back in action before March, at least.

But if he recovers all his abilities, the €10m Fiorentina have paid for him will look a bargain. Rossi and Toni are different sorts of striker. "We would work well together," said Toni.

But a fit Rossi is more likely to shift the big veteran more often to the bench. So do not count too heavily against the wanderer moving on again this year - only probably not back to the UAE.



twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National