Cesare Prandelli Says Fiorentina's Federico Chiesa Can Be Best Player in Europe

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2020

FLORENCE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 08: Federico Chiesa of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and  Atalanta BC at Stadio Artemio Franchi on February 8, 2020 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Former Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has backed Fiorentina's Federico Chiesa to become the "best player in Europe" if he plays in his natural position. 

The 22-year-old has six goals and three assists in 23 appearances in the 2019-20 Serie A season—currently on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak—exactly the same return he managed in 37 appearances last term.

He has long been linked with a move to Juventus, and both Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are said to be interested in the young Italy international, per Chris Burton of Goal.

Prandelli, who also managed Fiorentina between 2005 and 2010, believes the most crucial aspect to Chiesa's progression is that he plays in his preferred position, per La Nazione (h/t Burton):

"He must persevere and work in a single direction. I speak of the role, his role. Chiesa must specialise in what he feels is his natural tactical position. If he does this, he will become the best player in Europe."

During 2019-20, Chiesa has played all across the front line for Fiorentina.

His preferred position is on the right flank, but he can also play as a central striker.

One of the key areas he will need to improve in if he is to live up to Prandelli's prediction is his goalscoring output.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been the benchmarks in European football for the last decade, and their numbers are extraordinary:

B/R Football @brfootball

April 2, 2019: Messi overtakes Ronaldo for the first time with 415 goals February 2, 2020: Ronaldo overtakes Messi with 435 goals March 7, 2020: Messi overtakes Ronaldo again Forever a battle for the top 🐐 https://t.co/SauiJfgNFP

It is unlikely any of the upcoming generation of attacking stars will be able to match Ronaldo and Messi's consistency.

But both of them are now well into their 30s and drawing to the end of their careers.

Chiesa has the talent to be one of those considered the best in Europe, but he may well need a move to a bigger club.

Fiorentina are 13th in Serie A at the moment after a tough 2019-20.

At a club fighting for major honours, Chiesa's output would likely increase, not least as he would have better service in attack, and it would not be a huge surprise if he were to leave Florence in the summer.