One of the standout performers from Fiorentina’s superb display during their 0-0 draw with Juventus last weekend isn’t exactly a household name in Italian football circles. At just 22 years old, Gaetano Castrovilli had spent time in the youth ranks of Cagliari and Bari before making the move to Tuscany in 2017.
A loan spell with Cremonese followed, but when Rocco Commisso bought the club last summer, it looked like the young midfielder was on his way out as the new owner looked to reduce the huge number of playing staff on the books.
Yet a keen eye from Vincenzo Montella meant that Castrovilli was spared that fate, and the Coach not only retained him but inserted him into the first team. “I saw after a couple of training sessions in pre-season that we had to take him off the market,” the boss admitted to reporters after the match with Juve. “He dribbles remarkably well and I don’t see any midfielder with a better change of pace in Serie A right now. Eventually, he’ll score some goals too.”
It was an opinion that was echoed by Attilo Tesser, his former boss at Cremonese, who saw those same qualities in him during his loan spell. “Gaetano has technical quality and physical strength,” the Coach told Radio Bruno. “These are qualities necessary to do well in modern football.
“He is a player who has the motivation to do well, and if he still wants to grow he can go a long way. Having champions on the team helps, he is establishing himself but he must not stop. He has different characteristics, but he reminds me of [Alberto] Aquilani that I coached at Triestina.
“Castrovilli is a player who is not afraid to take risks, in Cremona he understood that professional football has less frills than the youth sides. I repeat: his great technique is combined with great physical strength. He has everything to be a complete midfielder.”
Indeed, alongside Milan Badelj and new Fiorentina signing Erick Pulgar, Castrovilli has made a huge impact in his three starts this term. Versus Juve, he created three chances for teammates, completed three from four of his take-ons and drew fouls from the opposition on three separate occasions, proving that his successful attempts to spread the play out wide were causing them problems.
His reward is said to be the offer of a new and significantly improved contract, one that will tie him to the club until 2023. For now though, Gaetano Castrovilli is a player to keep a firm eye on as the season progresses as he looks to repay the faith shown in him by his Coach Montella.