This Zamparini Era Palermo XI Is Outrageously Good
This week has marked the end of an era for Palermo, with trigger happy chairman and president Maurizio Zamparini stepping down after a chaotic 15 years in charge of the Sicilian outfit.
In a decade and a half at the helm of the 'Rosanero', Zamparini oversaw no less than forty managerial appointments, transforming the club from a Serie B outfit into Serie A regulars (with the exception of a brief return to the second flight in 2013-14) who made inroads into continental competition appearances in the UEFA Cup/Europa League.
A young Edinson Cavani sprung to prominence during his four years in Sicily. Image: PA
During his reign, some managers proved to be gluttons for punishment more than others, with Francisco Guidolin taking in four spells as Palermo manager, while Gian Piero Gasperini, Giuseppe Sannino and Delio Rossi all returning for a second spell. Even AC Milan and Italy legend Gennaro Gattuso thought it'd be a laugh to pit his wits on the touchline at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in June 2013. He lasted three months.
"Don't get too comfy, lad, you'll only be here for a month." Zamparini (right) welcomes Delio Rossi to Palermo. Image: PA
However, despite his frenetic approach to hiring and firing managers, Zamparini oversaw the acquisitions of a vast array of talent during his 15 years in the Sicilian capital, and had the 'Rosanero' had more luck retaining their star players during that time, we could be talking about them as a regular Serie A title contender and Champions League mainstay.
Starting from the back, former PSG number one Salvatore Sirigu is protected by a defence where half the players hold World Cup winners medals in Fabio Grosso and Andrea Barzagli, with a midfield containing Javier Pastore and Josip Iličić overflowing with creative flair, which is just as well given the forwards they'd be supplying.
Miccoli and Pastore, during better days at the Stadio Renzo Barbera. Image: PA
Selecting a strikeforce almost proved to be impossible with Edinson Cavani, Luca Toni, Paolo Dybala, Andrea Belotti and the club's all time leading Serie A goal scorer Fabrizio Miccoli to choose from. So, as this is a fantasy team, we opted to do away with caution and select Cavani, Toni, Dybala and Miccoli, with Belotti, now a free scoring target of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Arsenal, only making the bench. Sorry, Andrea.
But would you just look at that team. The defence might get a bit busy from time to time, but then again, which Italian team isn't going to thrive under that pressure?
With Belotti, Antonio Nocerino, Fabio Liverani, Andrea Balzaretti and another World Cup winner in Cristian Zaccardo all ready and waiting on the bench, along with back up goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, we'd back this lot to trouble any team on the planet. With Rino Gattuso as emergency player/manager for no other reason than #FOOTYBANTZ.