The 2015/16 Serie A season is only halfway over, and Sicilian club Palermo have already changed managers multiple times. Giuseppe Iachini began the current campaign as the head coach, his second stint with the club, but was fired on Nov. 10 following a victory two days prior. Iachini was in charge at the Italian club for just over two years, a timeframe fairly impressive considering chairman Maurizio Zamparini’s willingness to fire managers frequently. In fact, Zamparini has changed managers over 50 times during his 28 years with the club.
Iachini, a former Rosanero player, was then replaced by Davide Ballardini, who presided over essentially two months of pure chaos. Following his appointment, Ballardini failed to record a victory in his first three games and only picked up two wins in eight total matches. Here’s where it gets interesting. Zamparini first tried firing Ballardini last week after a run of poor form. After sort of sacking his manager, he contacted Iachini to once again be the head coach. However, the former manager asked for new signings during the January transfer period, which Zamparini rebuffed and the deal was off.
Three days after seemingly sacking Ballardini and attempting to re-sign Iachini, Palermo reinstated Ballardini as manager. Fast forward a few days, and Ballardini reportedly gets into a training ground bust up with goalkeeper and captain Stefano Sorrentino. Apparently, the player was told that he would be relegated to the bench for the club’s upcoming match. Needless to say, Sorentino didn’t take the news very well. Following the argument, Sorrentino did in fact make the starting XI, and Palermo went on to win the match against Hellas Verona, 1-0.
While the team won the game, Ballardini did not speak to his players at all on the day and was even seen motionless following Palermo’s goal. After the game, Sorrentino explained the unusual situation to Sky Italia:
“Ballardini did not speak to the team before the game, at halftime or after the match. The last two days have been chaotic. I will not allow anyone to insult or doubt the professionalism and moral integrity of this team. If they do, then they have to deal with me.”
Sorrrentino continued, ”Did Ballardini doubt their moral integrity? You said it, not me. I reacted the way I did because that’s what I am like. I prefer to be called rubbish than to have my professionalism doubted. If that happens, I become vicious.”
The actions of Ballardini (of course) didn’t sit well with chairman Zamparini. The manager was soon fired and the chairman claimed that “Ballardini fired himself.” Zamparini explained his comment during a subsequent press conference on Monday. “A coach cannot behave like that,” the chairman stated. “The team managed to get a result yesterday, even playing without a coach. Today, I found what I think is the best solution. As they say, sometimes bad luck doesn’t cause harm.”
Newly appointed manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto will work to do his best to bring the team closer together and help avoid relegation from Serie A. With 19 matches remaining on the schedule, Palermo are currently six points above the drop zone.
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