Sometimes you have to learn from the best to be the best.
Frank Ribery’s bulging trophy cabinet is home to nine league titles, six German cups and one Champions League.
Now in the twilight of his career and soaking up the Renaissance art of Tuscany, one of the most-decorated players of the modern era is doing his bit for the next generation by taking La Viola’s most exciting talent under his wing.
Federico Chiesa is set to be the main beneficiary of the Frenchman’s stint in Florence.
The Italian is now blessed with a mentor who can help propel his already flourishing game to the next level.
Chiesa has long been linked with a move to one of Europe’s elite clubs and interest in the 22-year-old has spiked once again after his partnership with Ribery blossomed in its infancy.
Fiorentina sit ninth in Serie A, four points shy of the Champions League spots and largely have the pair to thank for their promising start to the season.
Although deployed on opposing flanks with Ribery’s party trick the ‘reverse Robben’ from the left and Chiesa more an archetypal winger whose stronger foot is the side he plays, over 600 professional games is a bank of knowledge the Italian would be naive to ignore.
The 22-year-old has two goals and four assists to his name this season after eight games and is beginning to establish himself with the Azzurri.
Chiesa’s sixteen caps have come mostly from the bench but a year under the wing of Ribery could help to secure his place as a starter for Italy at next summer’s Euros.
Ex-Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin has likened the pair to his former attacking duo of Antonio Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez.
Under Guidolin, the Italian and Chilean scored 28 and 12 goals respectively while assisting a further 16 between them in a standout season for Udinese in which they crashed the Champions League spots.
A similar return from Ribery and Chiesa could help Fiorentina repeat the trick and achieve their highest league finish in five years and would be a stark improvement over last season’s disappointment of sixteenth place.
At 36 years old, La Viola’s decision to hand Ribery a lucrative three-year deal was questioned on his arrival and it remains to be seen whether or not Chiesa will stay in Florence for its duration.
However, be it for one season or three, the Italian will soak up invaluable experience from his veteran team-mate.
The cultured among you will know that ‘Chiesa’ in Italian translates to ‘church.’
It’s the church of Ribery that the 22-year-old will be worshipping at this season as he bids to replicate the Frenchman’s trophy-laden career.
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