Genoa President Enrico Preziosi spilled the beans on his tempestuous tenure. “I regret hiring Ivan Juric, but not sacking Davide Ballardini.”
Now that Maurizio Zamparini has sold Palermo, Preziosi takes over as the most volcanic patron in Italian football.
He is already on his third Coach of the season, Cesare Prandelli, having sacked Ballardini and then Juric, decisions that infuriated the fans.
“I had started going back to the stadium this year, also considering the good rapport that Ballardini had with the ultras in the Gradinata Nord,” Preziosi told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
“However, he never convinced me. He is a basic Coach who only knows how to deal with complicated situations. If he has to create play from nothing, he struggles.
“Ballardini has been fired so many times in his career, so there has to be a reason. To make the fans happy, he stood up the entire time during the Derby so he wouldn’t sit on the ‘visitors’ bench at Marassi, then sent kisses to the Curva Nord.
“He let himself get dazed by the enthusiasm of the fans and at times I did too, but you have to maintain some distance and respect the various roles we all have.
“My mistake was not sacking Ballardini, but recalling Juric. I had already met with Prandelli and Davide Nicola, then Beppe Iachini, who couldn’t come to Genoa because of his past at Sampdoria.”
It was Ballardini’s third stint on the Grifone bench, but also the third for Juric.
“Juric seemed as if he had matured and we decided to give him another chance. The Coppa Italia exit to Virtus Entella was the last straw. I always say it’s better to have a lucky general than a smart one and Juric is not lucky.”
Prandelli made his debut in a 1-1 draw with SPAL, but saw Domenico Criscito sent off after just 11 minutes.
“People call Prandelli past-it, but I saw a person eager to prove himself and engage in the project,” continued Preziosi.
“I asked him to calm down the supporters and get the team back on track, including with a few January additions.”
The President is regularly the subject of insulting banners and chants from the ultras, but insists he poured himself into the club.
“They say I take money from the club, but they don’t know that I lost €200m to football. We’ve been in Serie A for 12 years, the longest streak in Genoa’s history. I have the spirit of adventure and don’t give up, but I can’t do more than that.”