The Hollow Words Of A Club Icon

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.

16 thoughts on “The Hollow Words Of A Club Icon

  1. I feel the same way. Big players leave us. Palermo fans know and accept this and we STILL respect you when you leave. But telling us you only want to leave for your wife in Paris then leaving for Roma is a slap in the face to every Palermo fan.

  2. A good entry there Steven. It is a shame he left Palermo the way he did.
    Zamparini offered him a deal on maximum pay at Palermo he still declined.
    I am grateful for all he has offered in the rosanero shirt. I know he had a genuine love of the shirt. I am also sure the decision to leave was difficult to an extent. He should have just stuck to the “we shall see what happens” line rather than the “Palermo or PSG” bullshit we fans were fed.
    On a professional level, if he thinks he conceded lots of goals under Delio Rossi – just wait to see what Zeman has to offer!
    Hope we find a formidable replacement very soon. A friendly at La Favorita against Milan has been scheduled for 12 August. Should give a real indication of where we are at. Actually I’m rather apprehensive to know the answer to that.

  3. Great post. Balza had a fair career with Palermo with many positives but I cannot forget his unforgiveable and stupid red card last year v. Siena (Feb 26) We were coming off wins over Genoa and Novara, a draw at Milan v. Inter then wins over Atalanta and Lazio. We were on a roll and our only loss in that stretch was a 2-1 defeat at Cagliari … then the Balza red card last man tackle just 2 min into the game killed us. Still, it’s a loss and even though he’s replaceable it will take time for any new player to fit in. I’m a bit more concerned about centre back – is there any way we can hold on to Migs ?

  4. Totally agree with Steven, he should have not forgotten who he was when Zamparini decided to spend €3.8m for him. If Balzaretti is the best italian LB, is ONLY because of Palermo.

  5. We have financially done well from this deal but it is upsetting. We will lose all identity if we keep losing our senior players. Now we have only Miccoli (who nearly left) and Miggliacio (who wants to leave) A club with no influence or icons is a poor club indeed, it would result in the same position as we were in when we basically had a new team and started the season with Liverani as captain, the team was soulless.

    • Good point there Fozz. We used to have an excellent balance of experience and youth. At least we managed to bring Brienza back home.
      But, who are our future leaders?

  6. Roma the most despicable club? you read the stories? Juve? Who was the only “big” squad not involved in Calciopoli? You need to educate yourself.

  7. Leaving Balza’s ‘hollow words’ aside, as well as the whole LB discussion, it’s interesting to see the Pres. of Belgrano FC say they have approached Palermo to get Vasquez back to Argentina ! … he gets very little playing time and it’s hard to see where he fits into Saninno’s scheme.

    • Palermo has seemed to be stockpiling treq’s a bit, and I’m not entirely sure why. I thought somebody said Sannino will use the 442 and not need one.

      What does that mean for Brienza, Ilicic, Vazquez, Zahavi, etc.? WIll they move to the wings, or up top, or what?

  8. Not sure what’s going on with that… Brienza is a clear winger but Illicic seems to have trouble sticking to that responsibility – at least he did last year. He’s an important player but IF he won’t buy in to the system it’s like playing a wierd form of 4-3-3… That’s not what the new manager wants. We have a decent midfield with Bertolo, Barreto, Rios, Donati, Brienza and Kurtic. Some of the current squad are being kept to facilitate semi-competitive inter-squad games like the one played today (TUE) I thought it was sad to see some fans jeering Migs and calling him a mercenary – and worse. I thought he wore the colors well and at least he never lied about wanting to end his career elsewhere. Three weeks and counting… Forza Palermo !

  9. Apologies to everyone. I want to post more often but as it stands, my laptop has died (or something…it turns on initially, then does nothing). Continue to follow the Twitter account (as most, if not all of you are doing) for daily/hourly/minute-ly updates.

    To answer some of your questions:

    Brienza plays as a winger in Sannino’s 4-4-2. Ilicic plays on top alongside Miccoli. One of Zahavi and Vazquez will be loaned out. Initially, it was going to be Zahavi, but he recently picked up an injury that’ll keep him out for 45 days, so it seems unlikely. From most accounts, Vazquez had a really good training camp and is versatile enough to play on the wing (although he’s not that fast) or up top, or even in the middle of the 4-4-2. He deserves a shot to prove he can play in Serie A, that’s for sure. The Belgrano links seem to be out of place as Vazquez’s father and Luca Cattani both denied a return.

    Sannino is a 4-4-2 guy, but he recently stated that he’s open to moving to a 3-5-2 or even 4-3-1-2 depending on the need. So, at least there’s a possibility of flexibility.

    Finally, Palermo needs to address two positions: another striker (prima punta) and LB/CB. Mantovani is a possible solution at LB if the market is asking too much. Otherwise, Zamparini needs to open up the pocketbook and grab Peluso from Atalanta! (They’re asking 5m).


  10. Thanks Zo – it always helps to get your insight. Vazquez, like so many other players we bring in, has not had a proper chance to prove himself. On the other hand he lacks pace to be a REAL winger, at least he has not displayed any that I have seen (neither had Bertolo for that matter) So where does he he fit in ? Still, I’d hate to lose him without giving him a chance. Talk about the left back vacancy is getting silly. Would we really pay 5 mil Euro for Peluso when we barely got that much for Balza who is twice the player Peluso is ? Sannino is facing many challenges. The biggest to me is at centre back – esp getting to communication right with a new goalie. I’m praying he can get it right. Forza Palermo !

  11. Anyone jeering Miggy should have their balls removed. That guy has given so much to this team. And, as said and unlike Balza, never lied about his future. It’s a shame he’ll leave, I’m feeling the whole Corini-story again…

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