Sunday December 15 2013
Parma's biggest regret

Parma celebrate their Centenary, so President Tommaso Ghirardi looked back on his “biggest regret” – Giuseppe Rossi.

The club was formed on December 16 1913 and there will be a huge celebration at the Stadio Tardini before this afternoon’s game with Cagliari.

President Ghirardi spoke to Sport Week about his current squad and the one that got away.

“Antonio Cassano is the most talented player I have ever signed. I am tired of answering questions from people who ask me if he is behaving himself. He behaves the same way as all the others.

“I am most proud of hiring Claudio Ranieri as Coach and Pietro Leonardi as director.

“My biggest regret is Giuseppe Rossi. I offered Manchester United €7m for him, but Villarreal did the deal for €9.5m. I should’ve pushed myself harder to get him.”

Rossi had grown up in the Parma youth academy before he was poached by Manchester United in July 2004, when he was still too young to sign a professional contract in Italy.

He returned to the Tardini on loan in January 2007, but Villarreal swooped for a permanent buy six months later.

“If I think back to the ruins I found when I took over in January 2007, with the club under administration, a sporting centre that was almost abandoned, the side near the bottom of the table and only players who were on loan, I can be happy with what I’ve done.

“When I bought Parma, the battle for survival only involved the small to medium clubs like ours. Now the world economic deficit is above all affecting the big clubs. I am fortunate that I don’t have to convince the fans of which direction we must take.

“Nowadays either you grow talent in-house or you go find them in the lower Leagues or in countries that are outside the usual transfer market routes. Unfortunately, this is something the bigger clubs have worked out too.”

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