By Romeo Agresti
Moreno Torricelli thinks Juventus will prove to be too strong for Fiorentina in their Europa League round-of-16 tie.
The 44-year-old wore the Juve jersey between 1992 and 1998 before spending four years at the Tuscans, and while he expects a "fascinating" encounter between the Serie A rivals, he is confident the reigning Italian champions will emerge victorious.
"I think that Juventus will progress. I can see them win at home and then draw or get a small defeat in the return," Torricelli told Goal.
"I expect a tough match, though. There's a huge rivalry between these two teams and the tie will be even more fascinating because it's a European game.
"Juventus are the better team in my opinion. Their squad is very complete and they have a lot of quality, while they also have an entertaining style of play.
"Fiorentina on the other hand have not really been fulfilling the high expectations, also because Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez got injured."
While he admits the Europa League might not be as high profile as the Champions League, Torricelli feels is is the perfect opportunity for Italian football to climb the Uefa coefficient ranking and earn back a fourth spot for European club football's elite competition.
"Of course, the Champions League has a bigger reputation and more appeal, but the Europa League is a tough competition as well.
"The presence of the teams that came in from the Champions League enriches the competition. You have to be of the highest level if you want to win it.
"Italy must win places in the Uefa ranking in order to re-gain the fourth Champions League spot and playing in a European competition is always very motivating."
The first leg of the Europa League tie between Juventus and Fiorentina is scheduled to take place in Turin on Thursday.