The saga from last season continues to spill into the offseason but one of the biggest questions seems to be answered.
After Davide Ballardini engineered a miracle on his second stint on the Palermo bench last season, it appeared only logical that he stay on for next season. Of course, in the world of Maurizio Zamparini, logic has a place alongside stability residing in a faraway land. Rumors had been swirling around Ballardini’s future at Palermo less than a week after the season came to an end.
For his part, Zamparini was coy about the whole situation. Instead of an out-and-out confirmation, the Palermo president preferred to let the media question Ballardini’s permanence. Among the rumors was the coach’s request for more money and more assurances – something that has never been confirmed by either coach or president. With the pending arrival of Rino Foschi as the new sporting director, a new rumor said a fallout would occur between Foschi and Ballardini due to a previous unpleasant experience between the two. Neither Foschi (who is still under contract at Cesena) nor Ballardini have mentioned this “problem”. Finally, other coaches “linked” with Palermo drew comments from Zamparini as he freely offered an opinion of these potential candidates, like Roberto Stellone, Massimo Oddo and more.
And yet, Zamparini claimed there was nothing to be concerned about, last week, in an interview with Italian media. In all his 30 years in football, Zamparini stated, he never met with a coach under contract during the offseason as there was no need to. Instead, the Palermo president said he’d have a face-to-face with Ballardini when the preseason gets underway. This statement still did little to sway the rumor mill.
This morning, new reports have emerged regarding the future of Davide Ballardini and Palermo. According to numerous outlets, Palermo leadership is united in the desire to have Ballardini remain as coach. Maurizio Zamparini, Gianni Di Marzio (the personal consultant to Zamparini) and Rino Foschi (the pending Palermo DS) all want to proceed with Ballardini at the helm. The same media outlets report that Foschi even met with Ballardini several days ago to clear the air and start with a clean slate, putting the coach’s refusal to accept the Cesena bench from a couple years ago behind the duo.
This is certainly some pleasant news and it finally looks like Palermo is trying to establish a plan for the immediate future. Given the importance of this offseason, everyone must be on the same page and working together to prevent the incongruities of the past from cropping up again. And, as always, a disclaimer should come with this supposed “confirmation” of Ballardini on the Palermo bench: even when it appears to be all settled, things can change in an instant.