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Lorenzo Vicini On June - 10 - 2011

Serie A’s Coaching Carousel Goes Round Again

Serie A has already saluted the 2010-11 season and many teams are already planning for 2011-12. Part of the planning process takes into account that timeless fixture that is truly a staple of Serie A: the coaching carousel. Many of last season’s coaches have either already been sacked or departed on their own terms and only a select few managed to confirm their spots on the bench for next season. It seems that this year, more than most in recent memory, will see many new faces in new places come the start of the 2011 season.

Only the following teams opted to retain last season’s managers: Cagliari, Fiorentina, Lazio, Inter, Milan, Napoli, Parma and Udinese. Of the remaining nine teams from last term, seven have already appointed a new coach while only Genoa and Lecce have yet to decide on the Mister for next season. Here is a quick look at who has gone where:

Bologna - Pierpaolo Bisoli

It was a turbulent season for Bologna but in the end they managed to finish two places above the drop. Last season’s coach, Alberto Malesani ended the campaign on a sour note and ultimately the club and coach separated at season’s end. Bologna have chosen to go forward with Pierpaolo Bisoli. For those who may not remember, Bisoli started out last season as the head coach for Cagliari. However, his tenure in Sardinia only lasted a few months as he was sacked in November. Bisoli is a young coach, who prior to his stint at Cagliari, guided Cesena to two consecutive promotions - first to Serie B and then subsequently to Serie A. Bologna presents a second chance for Bisoli to prove he can be successful in Serie A.

Catania - Vincenzo Montella

The Elefanti were left without a coach after Diego Simeone and Catania chief Pietro Lo Monaco mutually agreed to part ways. Simeone had done a great job with the club when he took over for Giampaolo in January, leading Catania to safety while racking up several terrific performances on the way. In comes Roma caretaker Vincenzo Montella in Simeone’s place. Montella is a very new coach having taken over for Ranieri in Rome despite only being a first time coach in Roma’s youth sector. Lo Monaco saw enough positives to give Montella a chance in a less demanding atmosphere. L’aeroplanino is young and raw but perhaps his fresh perspectives will allow Catania to stay safely in Serie A next season and even fly higher than expected.

Cesena  - Marco Giampaolo

When Massimo Ficcadenti and Cesena mutually agreed not to continue together after Cesena’s last game, many would rightly question how such a decision could be made. After all, the newly promotoed Seahorses earned another year of life in Serie A under Ficcadenti’s helm. Yet, Cesena wasted no time appointing a successor: Marco Giampaolo. The man from Bellinzona has oft been heralded as one of the bright coaching prospects in all of Italy. Despite the praise, Giampaolo resumes his coaching career after a disappointing run with Catania last season. His time in Sicily only lasted until January before the club and coach mutually rescinded his contract. Now, Cesena provides Giampaolo with a great chance at re-establishing himself as a true coaching talent. If the Seahorses are to continue their dream of remaining in Serie A, Giampaolo cannot afford any slip-ups.

Chievo - Mimmo Di Carlo

It’s a return to familiar pastures for Mimmo Di Carlo and Chievo. Di Carlo had coached the Flying Donkeys for two seasons in 2008 to 2010 before moving to Sampdoria last season. Unfortunately for Mimmo, his time at Sampdoria quickly went from bad to worse as Di Carlo’s squad missed out on the Champions League group stages followed by exiting the Europa League and crashing out of the Coppa Italia. Furthermore, Sampdoria quickly slid down the Serie A table and in late March, Di Carlo was sacked. Nonetheless, it is a welcomed return back to Chievo where Di Carlo achieved success prior to moving on. He finds a team that is in good shape and should easily achieve safety next season. If Chievo is even more ambitious, Di Carlo is the right man to help them climb towards the top half of the table.

Juventus - Antonio Conte

Speaking of familiar returns, Antonio Conte is officially back with the club he called home as a player for 14 years. This time, however, Conte is in charge of a Juventus team desperately longing for a return to glory. After successive disappointing coaching stints for those tasked with leading the Old Lady, Juventus turns to one of the “old guard” to see them through. Conte brings with him a no nonsense  style that just might be what the Bianconeri have needed. He is a bright coach who has seen success with Bari and Siena (earning the latter promotion to Serie A by winning Serie B last season). Nonetheless, Juventus is a place where winning is expected every week and results are all that counts no matter who is at the helm. If Conte wants to be considered as the right choice, he’ll have to have almost immediate success next season.

Palermo - Stefano Pioli

Perhaps nothing is more reliable than Palermo and a coaching change to begin the offseason. Palermo’s volcanic President Maurizio Zamparini decided not to renew the contract of his most successful coach ever in Delio Rossi despite leading them to the Coppa Italia final. Instead, Zamparini has decided to give the job to ex-Chievo coach Stefano Pioli. Palermo brought in Pioli for two reasons: he is young and his Chievo team had a phenomenal defensive record last season - something that the Rosanero certainly could not boast of. Will Pioli be ready to take on this new challenge under a president who is famous for sacking managers prematurely? If Pioli’s record is anything to go by (six different clubs in the past six seasons), this might be the shortest appointment of any made this offseason.

Roma - Luis Enrique

Out of all the coaching appointments made so far, Roma’s appointment of Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique has certainly raised the most eyebrows. Enrique is as young a coach as they come and his only true experience has come at the helm of a Barcelona B team. Certainly, his tenure with the youth side has been a successful one, but now he takes control of a true project. Many questions are swirling in regards to what Luis Enrique will bring to the table and possibly bring with from his former employers. Yet, the biggest question will be whether or not the Spaniard is ready for such a big stage like Roma - a club that expects a finish in the Champions League places (now only three spots instead of four). Roma have taken the biggest gamble and they’ll hope Luis Enrique will provide a tremendous payout.

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