Fiorentina’s Quinn back on familiar turf in Champion’s League

by Dave Donnelly

Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn will be on familiar ground when Fiorentina return to Champions League action next month.

The Italian side have been paired with 2017 and 2018 quarter-finalists Manchester City and will travel to England for the first leg on March 3 or 4.

The former Peamount United star will be well aware of what the Citizens have to offer, having spent two seasons with Arsenal, winning the Super League title in 2019, before opting for a move to Florence in the summer.

She may even come face-to-face with international colleague Megan Campbell – the full-back is in the City squad but is currently in the early stages of a managed return to play after a serious injury.

Quinn made the decision to leave Arsenal last summer after the 2019/20 campaign was cancelled, meaning she missed out on the Champions League quarter-final with PSG.

She had come on the Serie A side’s radar when they met in that year’s round of 32 game, when the Gunners ran out 6-0 aggregate winners.

The 30-year-old, who previously spent four years in Sweden with Eskilstuna United, has enjoyed both the perks and the challenges of her latest change of scenery.

Adapting

“I’m starting to adapt to the lifestyle, which can be really lovely at times. I’m just waiting for that good weather to come back,” Quinn told the Dublin Gazette.

“It’s a different way of football and everything that’s going on, a different way of going about things. It’s definitely been challenging, but it’s been definitely enjoyable as well.”

In terms of style, Serie A offers up a host of new challenges for the centre-half – though she has come up against most every trick in the book in her 82-cap Ireland career.

Aside from learning a new language, the brand of football is more typically Italian, both in terms of technical flair and the propensity for players to avoid the physical side of the game.

“It’s an adjustment in terms of how you play, how you read the game. For me, the attacking players in a lot of the teams are really, really tricky.

“As a defender, it is there – the Italians are known for going down. It is about being smart with your play, timing and everything that’s going on. It’s been a lot of learning, that’s for sure.”

Fiorentina are a distant fourth with 13 of 22 games played, but they did gain some revenge on second-placed AC Milan in the semi-final of the Supercoppa.

Quinn scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win to set up a date with Juventus, but the Bianconeri proved too strong in the final, Italian international Barbara Bonansea scoring twice in a 2-0 win.

“It was really nice to be playing and getting the opportunity to play those top teams, AC Milan and then Juve in the final.

“2-0 was probably a fair result. Juve really are quite a dominant team at the moment in the league, and they have consistently kept the same squad as well, which is important for any team.

“A lot of Italian internationals are in there as well, so they’re pretty impressive. Obviously it was tough to lose but sometimes it’s to a better team.”

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