Humanising Maurizio Zamparini

Humanising Maurizio Zamparini

Taking a look at the other side of the controversial owner.

Deny Adi

You can see through his devilish soulless eyes when he is being photographed by Getty Images on the breezy day of January 2017. You can also see his wrinkles that embodies his face. Even though he was wearing a beanie and winter jacket, it did not prevent him to stop a windy breeze, swooping his club ownership.

Practically at that moment, his era was finally coming to an end. After 15 years and 40 coaching changes, he decided to called it a day. Not in a sunny happily ever after ending which once he dreamed of when he decided to resurrect wanders aimlessly Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo back in the summer of 2002. For him this club is an unsolved business.

In another documented photo, there was a man standing along with him. His name is Giuseppe Iachini. He used to managed Rosanero twice on two different occasions, once he even promoted Palermo back to Serie A. While doing so, his squad were crowned Serie B champions five matches before the end of 2013-2014 championship. Palermo, along with its supporters, once again living the dream.
Unfortunately even after all the work he has done at Renzo Barbera, his tenure resulted in getting an early paycheque. But he does not hold a grudge to Zamparini, not a single one. In fact they keep maintaining a good relationship between each other. Probably Zamparini once dubbed as mangiallenatori (coach-eater) had already learnt to treasure something that matters to him.

However before Iachini, he used to have a love-hate relationship with Francesco Guidolin. Before he wandered to Premier League which ends in a failure, Zamparini thought Guidolin was always the man to go for back in 2006. The perfect manager to solve every crisis he had at Palermo.
"Zamparini is the best president but only from Tuesday to Saturday” - Francesco Guidolin

In another point of view, Guidolin was always reluctant to say no if Zamparini needed his help. But then the relationship was gone, in one fiery public flame-out. He told Guidolin he is a liar after spreading false news about the club and it’s supporter. The 61 year old manager felt there were an on-going coup d’etat for his position. Finally the Treviso born manager thought the abuse has gone too far and the bridge between them had to be burned.

“Maurizio is a loyal and generous man, if I asked him to buy new players he bought them because he believed in you. To be crowned in Serie B, finished at sixth in the Serie A next year after. Almost got a ticket for Champions League. I always have a pleasant memory with Palermo along with Zamparini because we have been through a lot in those three years,” conceded Guidolin to La

“He always had intuition, the only flaw he has was that he spoke to the press immediately after the defeats of his club. He has not been able to curb his exuberance. Basically this bad habit often covers good things from him. Zamparini is the best president but only from Tuesday to Saturday,” continued the ex-midfielder for Verona in the 70’s era to Mediagoal. Zamparini surely is not an easy man to deal with especially if you are managing his team. The old proverb which once said “It’s easier to make enemies rather than one friend” can perfectly picture The Zamparini way.

His outspoken persona make others scratching their heads because of his words often bending the norm of public speaking. He used to called his own team a bunch of a girls in 2008, calling an Englishman a pirate and made a a borderline racist rant to Adrian Mutu. Once he threatened to cut off his own player testicles and eat them in his salad.

He also sacked Stefano Pioli, one of the best defensive minded tacticians in a modern Italian football era. He decided to hire him to solve Palermo leaky defence. Before Pioli came in, Federico Balzaretti had conceded 63 goals in 38 Serie A matches. Unfortunately after only managing due partite he is being showed the door just because Zamparini had a feeling Pioli was going to get Palermo relegated.
While on his stint as a president, football journalists who are covering Palermo basically are having the time of their life. No boring quotes that are being selected by press relation officers, Zamparini was happy to deliver his blatant words himself and not being afraid of his public image.

Although striving to be a controversial figure was not always the way for the Friulian man. He was also a great sport businessman with a great visionary for scouting the next big thing footballers. He declared Italian football has always been 20 years behind the rest of European league because it lacks the financial competitiveness. Instead of lamenting how the world works, he preferred to play by the rule of games. If Palermo were seen as a small seller club then so be it, Aquile are selling the next football star with the biggest profit.

(Talented Footballers which has been bought and sold by Maurizio Zamparini source: Mediagol)

“You have to adapt to the economic situation and the category. Let’s say it’s no longer an era to invest for big names. It’s clear when Zamparini sees someone interesting he does not hold back. Palermo are enhancing our youth sector.”
“We have seven or eight observers around Italy and also abroad. We also have social talent scouting which is done by sites and social networks. It help us to make a first screening of talent around the world,” confessed ex sport director of Palermo, Giorgio Perinetti to La Repubblica.

To do so, Zamparini deployed one of the most sporadically talented scouting team. Since he can’t help building the structure the clubs needed because of Italian bureaucracy, he funded his scouting team at his own cost. According to Tuttomercatoweb, he also paid for one of the scouts to watch Ghanaian Team The Black Satellite playing in an African Youth Championship in Novara. Mind you the distance between the two cities is more than 1500 kilometres.

This scheme often leads to snatch one of the most exciting prospects, before big European clubs has a chance to do so. Maintaining a relationship with the “supplier” has always been a number one motto at Palermo scouting team. Another ex direttore sportivo Palermo, Luca Cattani once noted to Tuttosport that he has to delay his plane back to Italy even though the negotiation for Franco Vazquez back in 2011 was completely done.

“I was at Cordoba and once I ate Patagonian sheep’s meats in a meeting with Franco’s club (Belgrano). The meat was delicious but at that meeting there was also Juan Carlos Barrera. He’s the president of Instituto which at that point had Paulo Dybala. He said to me, ‘Congratulations you bought Franco but we have another player which has more potential than him.”
“I saw four matches which Paulo took part with, but since the first match Zamparini has already impressed with La Joya,” concluded Cattani.

Zamparini might not be your ideal football president. Instead of giving a well prepared speech. Because of his remarks and views, some of us see him as the embodiment the old prototype human we used to be before being civilised because of his remarks and views.
The declining form of Palermo often be associated with his regime. Most of them because of his impulsive decisions, some of them in fact leads to a grudge of a man. Some of them benefited his decisions, the likes of Andrea Belotti, Matteo Darmian, Edinson Cavani, Amauri, Javier Pastore, Josip Iličić and Paulo Dybala himself.

Some of them have to thank Zamparini because they have gained cult status, like Simon Kjaer or Fabio Liverani. Some of them had reached the legendary status just like Fabrizio Miccoli and Fabio Simplicio. Some of his decisions brought The Eagle to the sky that Palermo fans never see it before. Until a member of Anglo-American fund took the reins in his place.

Don’t blame him, this foul-mouthed man and controversy made a sweet love story which has been craved by the media. He’s leaving a big hole that will make journalists and fans miss him.

Even though he’s a mortal, just like one of us.

Credit Source:, Reuters, ESPN FC, Repubblica, Football Italia, FootballScout24, forzapalermo.
Credit Photo: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images, Mediagoal.
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