One of the estimated 250 players to have passed through Parma since Tommaso Ghirardi took over says he never even went to the training ground.
Manuel Pascali, who left the Ducali to play for Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership has spoken about the situation at the club, revealing he had to buy tickets to watch his teammates.
“I had an unhappy experience at Parma,” the Killie captain recalled in an interview with ItaSportPress.
“I’ve never seen Collecchio. I never saw a doctor or had a medical. I never had the opportunity to show what I can do, I signed a three-year deal in 2007 without ever coming to the sports centre and having the opportunity to meet my teammates.
“Tommaso Ghirardi took over Parma that year, and brought with him some guys from a Lega Pro side, Carpenedolo, but only one of us went to the Ducali training camp.
“Others were abandoned and had no pre-season. I did it in the gym with a friend of mine, even though I was under contract with Parma.
“Then I discovered that they had about 250 players under contract, and today everyone is crying foul and taking it up with Ghirardi, [Pietro] Leonardi or more recently [Giampietro] Manenti.
“But I think everyone knew, because if a club submits 250 players on the payroll to the Federation, there should be some doubts.
“I’m not saying Ghirardi was a saint, I don’t know him, and I don’t know what happened with Parma, but I think it was under everyone’s eyes.
“I read what [Sandro] Melli said [about players coming in who he didn’t know], I was one of those [players].
“I remember a time I went to see Parma-Juventus in the Coppa Italia, I had to pay for a ticket. Some of my friends were there, including my former teammate who played for Parma.
“He introduced me to some of the Ducali players, including Reginaldo.
“We went for a pizza and I told him: ‘In theory, I’m your teammate. I have a contract with Parma, and to date I haven’t been in the squad, but I have three years with you.’
“We all laughed, but the situation was appalling. I did an interview about it in 2008 which caused problems, I got insulted by fans and media.
“The words which came out of my mouth were not borne of anger, they were facts.
“I had to ask Carpenedolo, the team with which I had played for the last two years before Parma, to be able to train and do pre-season with them instead of getting ready at home in the gym.
“If someone had understood that interview, maybe something could have been done because I wasn’t saying stupid things.
“Many of the 250 players have already left, others may play in Italy but find it difficult to talk, because you don’t want to tell the truth and face problems later.
“This situation is getting a lot of attention because Parma are a club with a big fanbase, but it happens too often in the Lega Pro. I had no salary for seven months at Alessandria.
“In our country, like I was in those days, you’re always afraid to say these things. I feel comfortable now, because in my own small way I’ve made my name here in Scotland.
“I was delighted when I signed for Parma, I was 26, at the peak of my football career and had so many ambitions. But I was treated really badly.
“I’ve always been an honest lad, and I always will be.
“If I had been given the opportunity, and I’d been there for three days I’d be the first to say: ‘No, Manuel, Serie A is too much for you, maybe you’re more cut out for Serie B or C. Work hard and you’ll develop slowly.’
“But I didn’t think that I wouldn’t do a medical or meet my teammates, I was left alone. I’d be interested to see how many of those 250 players had the same experience.
“These are the facts, and the chickens have come home to roost.”
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