In Belgium, we have a saying that, freely translated, says, “The bear will dance when given money.” Today in Palermo, the bear danced. Federico Balzaretti, leaving the fans who adored him, has gone to Roma for a bigger paycheck.
I don’t know about you guys, but I remember these words being thrown around a lot in the last months: “He will stay at Palermo, or move to PSG because his wife lives there.” Or, “Other teams need not make offers for him, because Federico Balzaretti is not interested.” Well, a lot has changed since then, hasn’t it? Fresh off telling Napoli he, indeed, wasn’t interested and rejecting a contract extension at La Favorità (Zamparini offered the maximum: €1.2 million net/year on a 3 year contract and a future job with the team), Balza did not sign for PSG.
Instead, Balza signed for the most despicable of Italian football clubs, AS Roma. According to the player’s entourage, “Rome is a lot closer to Paris when you take a plane.” Undeniable logic. The assumption that he’ll probably make a whole lot more in the Eternal City seems even more logical. Do I seem frustrated? You don’t say. I don’t mind players leaving us. I surely don’t mind players coming off a couple of great seasons and a wonderful European Championship. And in the end, Zamparini brought Palermo €4.5 million for him (with bonuses that could amount to €5 million total). Not too shabby for a 30 year old (soon to be 31) and enough to get a solid replacement. What I do mind is liars. If you want away from Palermo, fine. You’re almost 31 and you’ll never win a Scudetto staying here. Go live your dream. But don’t tell us it’s between the people who love you and the woman you love.
In the end, Balzaretti might not get the best in this situation. As our friends Rob already pointed out on Twitter, Balzaretti will arrive in a system that is know for it’s disastrous defending. The European Championship might as well be the last we’ve seen of him in the Azzurri shirt. Maybe I’m overreacting to this news, but I don’t like being betrayed. One consolidation, though: it makes the choice for a new name and number on my jersey a whole lot easier. See you soon, Federico. Have fun in Zemanlandia.