Vlahovic speculation set aside after Fiorentina forward closes on Ronaldo record

By Sports Desk December 11, 2021

Dusan Vlahovic's remarkable goalscoring feats continued on Saturday – and so too did discussion about his Fiorentina future.

Vlahovic netted twice in a 4-0 Serie A win over Salernitana to at least temporarily move Fiorentina up to fifth.

The team the Viola leapfrogged – Juventus, in action later on Saturday – have been hotly tipped to make a January move for the forward, who is quickly closing on a mark set by former Bianconeri man Cristiano Ronaldo.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo scored 33 Serie A goals in 2020, the most of any player in a single calendar year in the past 60 seasons.

After this brace, Vlahovic has 32 in 2021 with two league games remaining, passing ex-Fiorentina forward Luca Toni's 31 in 2005.

Juve are not the only team said to have been attracted by this sensational form, but vice-chairman Pavel Nedved – speaking ahead of the game against Venezia – was reluctant to discuss Vlahovic at this stage.

"We have to think about making our current players perform and trusting these players," Nedved told DAZN. "They are strong players.

"We have a lot of young people and if they improve we can do well. Some work in January is not impossible but now let's think about our players."

Similarly, in his news conference, Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano did not want to consider fears Vlahovic could leave.

"Right now I'm not afraid of anything except doing well in the last three games," he said. "The goal is to do great things, even though I've never mentioned the word Europe. We want to keep this position.

"In the hug he gave me, Vlahovic reminded me that we managed to score goals in a situation we practised in training."

 

Italiano preferred to reflect on Fiorentina's improvement in front of goal, having now won five consecutive home games while scoring three or more goals for the first time since 1960.

That run has led to 21 goals in eight home games – Fiorentina's best such start since 1960-61 (22 in eight) – with Vlahovic contributing to more than half of them, scoring 10 and assisting two.

Home and away, the 21-year-old has 15 goals through the first 17 games of the season, making him the youngest player to achieve that feat since both Jose Altafini and Antonio Valentin Angelillo in 1958-59.

Alberto Gilardino in 2008 was the last Fiorentina player to score in five straight, as Vlahovic has done.

"There was a moment in the season when we weren't able to reach our forwards well," Italiano said. "Now we can supply them. Having a striker with 15 goals is a huge satisfaction for us."

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