Saturday March 18 2017
Baccaglini: 'Palermo collaboration'

New Palermo owner Paul Baccaglini outlined his plans for the club. “Maurizio Zamparini was tired of insults and pressure. This is a collaboration between us.”

The Italian-American former TV satirist was the surprise name at the helm of a group to buy the Sicilian outfit.

“I met the players one by one, I also met the Coach, and I told them that safety is an achievable objective,” Baccaglini explained in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It’s all true – I am young, my partner is a former TV dancer (even if she’s got a massive brain), I was on (satirical TV show) Le Iene, I have over 60 tattoos. But in April I will be 100 per cent the owner of Palermo. I am not a passing fad, nor as some have suggested a lightning rod for the three months until relegation so Zamparini can return. I want to experience the team and the city.”

Many have asked just how Baccaglini got the money to buy a Serie A club.

“I was initially put in contact with Zamparini by Frank Cascio (another Italian-American with a failed takeover bid last year, ndr). Maurizio wanted to totally re-organise his assets and that included Palermo. He was tired of insults and pressure. Really fed up. This is a collaboration between us.

“Zamparini won’t just leave the calcio scene, because he has spent 40 years in this world and that is valuable experience. He signed players like Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore, Paulo Dybala, Franco Vazquez and I’m supposed to be so dumb as to just let him go?

“Our negotiations with Zamparini lasted months, in secret, with many legal checks. You can’t say I bought Palermo for a specific sum, because the investments will be made when they are needed.

“My primary objective is certainly to build a new stadium and that’s proved by last week’s meetings with the institutions. The stadium is the church where you hold mass – it is everything.

“My job is to get the best out of the Palermo brand, because that is something I can really do. In Italy the clubs do not get value out of the brand. Do you have any idea of the potential that Palermo has? In the summer I’m taking the team to New York.”

Baccaglini revealed he’s not exactly an expert on the sport.

“I’ve only been to the stadium once, as a friend took me to San Siro to watch Inter. I always watched the Nazionale. I met Javier Zanetti once on a radio show and I always admired Alessandro Del Piero, as he seems like a good guy.”

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