Thursday April 17 2014
‘Paletta is Serie A’s best defender’

Pietro Leonardi has described Gabriel Paletta as the best defender in Serie A of late, and reveals ‘an important offer from Germany’ was turned down.

The Argentine-born centre-back has been in strong form for Parma this term and has attracted not only transfer speculation, but also has him in contention to make Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad for the World Cup.

For the Ducali’s sporting director, his form is up there with the best and has already resulted in interest from outside.

“The boy has already turned down an important offer from Germany and this is a source of pride for our club,” Leonardi told Sky Sport Italia this week.

“I have said that Paletta is worth €35m to give a sense of his contribution to our season. In the recent period in which he has become better known, we believe that Paletta has been the strongest defender in the Italian League.

“I say this not to be presumptuous, but because I really believe it.”

The Gialloblu face Inter this weekend in what is being billed as a direct play-off for fifth place in Serie A and with that the final automatic qualification berth into the Europa League.

“Yes, it is a very important match, but what counts most is always the next game. Certainly it is a game with a lot of interest.

“Earlier in the season if we had considered playing for Europe against Inter with five games to go, perhaps we would have been talking about a dream. Now we will push until the very end.

“Attitudes towards the Europa League? For me, I had the opportunity to be in the UEFA Cup with Udinese and we honoured it with our best and reached an historic quarter-final against Werder Bremen.

“With Parma, let us get into the Europa League and we will see in the field our best, not our second team.

“Everyone should do this, because we [Italian clubs] are too far back on a European level.”

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