Monday January 20 2014
Cellino on Radja, Sant’Elia, Leeds

Massimo Cellino is downbeat over Cagliari’s stadium situation, admits he may ‘give away’ other players as he did Radja Nainggolan, and doesn’t deny links to Leeds United.

The Sardinians’ stadium situation of the past couple of seasons has seen them play across a number of temporary homes, including in the northern city of Trieste, before seemingly finding temporary agreement to return to the Sant’Elia this term.

However, that deal is temporary, says the club’s President this week, and could be about to end.

“I have thrown money at this and I am the only one to have always paid the city, to which I have given €9m for nothing,” Cellino has begun in an interview with L’Unione Sarda published today.

“Three months ago I proposed a new project for a new stadium, provisionally, because I do not have the money for the galactic stadium that the mayor wants.

“But in a few days a letter will arrive from the FIGC. In September there was an agreement that the stadium originally had to be opened to 5,000 fans. The FIGC will send us back to Trieste and I do not want to be here to witness that.

“Twelve months after my arrest, I still do not know why I was arrested. I am being made out to be a criminal, but in 21 years I have never disrespected anyone. I will not take it anymore.”

The President was talking after Cagliari’s 1-0 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday.

“We did not have to lose this game. We did not have to lose and I am annoyed, but not for the defeat - I have returned and seen some backward steps. These guys are exceptional.

“This team is a family and I am like a father to them. Without me, Lopez cannot grow, the guys are nervous. But I cannot stay, because I will not go back to prison. And if I stay here…”

Cellino, on from this, hinted that Radja Nainggolan may not be the last player to leave Cagliari this month and that money isn’t his motivation to selling.

“If tomorrow I was asked about Astori or others, I would let them go. I cannot protect my boys and so I could give them all away, as was the case for Nainggolan.

“Radja was wanted by PSG and Manchester City, but I succumbed to Roma. He did not want to leave, he had to.

“Zenit were willing to pay €25m last summer, Juventus offered €20m and were prepared to let me have him until the end of the season, like with [Fabian] O’Neill.

“And Radja, the next day, came home and extended his contract. But he could not stay here. How can he grow in a team with no ambition?

“He has gone to Roma, on a loan of €3m. There he will grow with champions like Totti and De Rossi, a good Coach and a club that already loves him.

“If I had pocketed €20m, what would we have done?”

Cellino was rumoured to be in London this past week to negotiate a possible takeover at Leeds United.

“I am not a hack, I do not go around buying teams just for fun. The other day I was there for the market, I wanted to buy a goalkeeper.

“I spoke with Julio Cesar, who is not playing at QPR and who wants to go to the World Cup. He told me that he knew the club, but that others would come in. But who wants to play here?”

Brazil Under-20 international Adryan seemingly does, sitting on the verge of a move to the club.

“He is a phenomenon, like Matri, Suazo and Ibarbo, who is very strong and next year will play in Barcelona.”

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