Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Lorenzo Vicini On April - 6 - 2011

A Delio Revival As Palermo Re-Hire Rossi

On February 27th, Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini told the press that only if he saw the Madonna appear to him in a dream would be spared from a sacking after the team’s 7-0 loss at home to Udinese. Unfortunately, there was no vision and the following day Delio was sent home. The fiery patron brought in the famous caretaker and motivator Serse Cosmi to shake up the squad. Yet, after only 36 days at the helm, Cosmi’s reign came to an end and Delio Rossi was incredibly reappointed. The return of Rossi led many to ask: why would a man like Delio subject himself to more madness under Zamparini? The answer may surprise you.

The man from Rimini quickly entered into the hearts of the Palermo faithful after his appointment several months into the 2009-10 season saw the Rosanero make history. It was just a year ago that the Sicilian club finished in fifth place, only two points out of fourth, and accumulated their best point total in their Serie A history. Most, if not all, of the credit belonged to Delio Rossi and his meticulous work as a tactician and mentor to the players. His influence was vital to the explosion of Javier Pastore, the success of Fabrizio Miccoli and the emergence of Antonio Nocerino. Beyond the love and affection showed him by the fans, the players were equally as welcoming, establishing a bond between player and coach that had not been seen since the days of Francesco Guidolin.

With the new season approaching and three competitions looming, the club’s duty was to bring in key additions to help Palermo compete amongst the three fronts. Rather than strengthening the side, the Rosanero sold two of its most important players in Cavani and Kjaer. The loss of Cavani was covered with the acquisitions of Mauricio Pinilla and Josip Ilicic; however, the replacement for Simon Kjaer would never come. Instead, Zamparini made a conscious decision to focus on youth in defense despite the coach’s pleas for veterans. It would be a move that would cost the club dearly.

The Sicilians performed spectacularly throughout much of the first half of the season playing some of the most attractive football in all of Italy. Delio Rossi was accomplishing great things while dealing with the youngest team in Serie A. Yet, among all the achievements, the one flaw in this Palermo side were its defensive woes. The young center backs in the team were forced into action immediately into the season and the lack of adaptation to Serie A proved evident. It wasn’t long until the constant criticisms from Zamparini about his coach’s apparent deficiency in defense began. Instead of realizing the errors of his own ways, Maurizio dropped the axe on Delio after the Udinese drubbing for his seemingly nonexistent defense and distaste for a three man defense.

And now, only a little over a month later, Delio Rossi is back in charge. In a rare showing of humility, Zamparini admitted, “I made a mistake to sack Delio Rossi and for this I say I’m sorry to the fans.” Beyond the fans, how did Maurizio manage to get Delio to come back? Ideally, concessions were made to the coach from the president. Perhaps there would be no more public berating of the coach’s tactical decisions. Maybe Zamparini promised to let Delio work in peace. Or, the Palermo patron could have provided an extra monetary incentive to return.

Regardless of Zamparini’s influence on his return, Delio Rossi came back for two personal reasons: the players and the city. Delio never hid his love for the city of Palermo. The affection showed to him by the fans had an impact on him so much so that he came back after he was initially sacked to hold a final press conference for the fans to express his admiration. His tearful farewell left the city with the sinking feeling that they may never have another coach like him again.

In his first press conference as the “new” coach again, Delio said he was back to finish what he started. In addition to that, he stated that before he decided to accept a return, he wanted to meet the players and look them in the eyes to see if they had the willingness to fight once more. All it took was fifteen minutes for Rossi to be convinced and begin working again.

There is still something left to be salvaged out of this season with seven games left to play and a semifinal leg in the Coppa Italia on the horizon. The players have their legendary coach back to lead them once more and the belief is that the fighting spirit that has been absent from the side can return again. Even if the season has been a disaster up until this point, Palermo can finish on a high note and look to the future.

And does that future include Delio Rossi? According to Zamparini, it does. The Palermo number one told the media that he hopes Delio stays on for another year. For Delio Rossi, though, words are not enough. The coach has stated time and again that his desire is to be part of a project that places the coach at the center of it. If Zamparini and upper management do not present a plan for the future, Rossi’s tenure with the club will only last for another month and a half. Many think that even if a plan is presented, Rossi will not stay based on the treatment he received under Zamparini. However, Rossi defied the odds by coming back to the team several days ago. Perhaps the bond between city and coach will be enough to keep him in Palermo even longer.

5 Responses so far.

  1. the kaiser says:

    Rossi? Again? Why bring back a coach with a 7 goal drubbing under his belt, no matter how love and adored by the players or city. Bring in a winner! How about bringing in someone like Klinsmann, they could use some German pizazz. Someone like that could finally turn Palermo around for the good.

  2. Ted says:

    Palermo should bring in Lippi…

    • Piccirriddu says:

      Lippi? You mean the guy who spurned every rosanero player for the World Cup this past year? No thanks!

  3. jaymine3 says:

    Klinsmann? Dude this is a midtable Serie A squad with a lot of history in the lower divisions of football. Not a club that hires superstar managers or players, and frankly as fans i think we like it that way. Delio Rossi started a wonderful project at Palermo, and I for one wouldn’t have picked any other guy to resume this developing project. If Zamps had kept Cavani and Kjaer especially, this season may have been another story.

  4. Rob says:

    Seems as if Delio has a clearer vision of Palermo’s future than Maurizio does. As they said in Seinfeld… Delio now has hand!

    This has been the strangest season so far for Palermo in this current Serie A era.

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