Serie A giants Fiorentina will have been delighted at keeping Colombian superstar Juan Cuadrado in Florence for yet another season.
The tricky winger, who had spent the summer being constantly linked to the rebuilding projects of Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United and Luis Enrique’s Barcelona, ultimately opted to stay with Vincenzo Montella’s side to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification this forthcoming season.
And after narrowly missing out on a place amongst Europe’s elite last year, there is widespread optimism that Cuadrado’s presence could see them succeed this time around.
Despite boasting the likes of Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez, it is the Columbian ace that is the talisman of this Fiorentina outfit.
Having signed on back in 2012 from fellow Serie A side Lecce, he has never looked back and constantly improved himself to become one of the finest wingers in world football.
Last year was his most fruitful, and saw him find the net 15 times in 43 appearances in all competitions, as well as contributing five assists, a tally only beaten by former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Borja Valero.
The 26-year-old was denied the chance of silverware as Montella’s men were brushed aside by Napoli in the final of the Coppa Italia, but there was enough evidence last season that Cuadrado could yet fire them to dizzying new heights.
World Cup superstar
Cuadrado’s stock further rose at the World Cup in Brazil earlier this summer as he played a key role in firing them to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
James Rodriguez may have been the recipient of the coveted Golden Boot award with his six strikes throughout the tournament, but his compatriot was in similarly dazzling form and finished the tournament with three assists – just one less than Germany’s Toni Kroos.
It was also more than the likes of Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil could produce, and showed him to be a player truly befitting of the grandest stage in world football.
Columbia may have been unlucky to have been dumped from the tournament by the hosts’, but solace could be taken in the way both Cuadrado and Rodriguez had spearheaded an exciting new era for the South American country.
The 26-year-old may now fire Fiorentina to their best season in recent memory.
Despite being swatted aside by Roma in their opening match of this Serie A campaign they boast the quality to secure European football for yet another season.
That United ultimately settled for Angel Di Maria and Barcelona withdrew their interest will only boost La Viola, who can now build an empire around their biggest warrior of them all.
Failure to do so could see suitors come calling again in the not too distant future.
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