Palermo are an absolute nightmare at the best of times, but Serie A’s most dysfunctional club (and that’s saying something!) have really outdone themselves over the weekend with a bout of full-on madness.
Indeed, as things stand, head coach Davide Ballardini is refusing to speak to his players after falling out with club captain Stefano Sorrentino shortly before Sunday’s trip to Hellas Verona.
Ballardini initially told Sorrentino that he would be dropped for the game, reportedly calling the 36-year-old goalkeeper’s professionalism into question in the process.
Unsurprisingly, Sorrentino didn’t take to that particularly kindly and subsequently argued his corner. He then started in goal as Palermo registered a 1-0 away victory.
However, it then emerged that sulk-arse Ballardini refused to engage with any of his players throughout the entire match.
““He isn’t speaking to us. Ballardini did not speak to the team before the game, at half-time or after the match,” Sorrentino told Sky Italia.
“The last two days have been chaotic. I will not allow anyone to insult or doubt the professionalism and moral integrity of this team. If they do, then they have to deal with me.
“Did Ballardini doubt our moral integrity? You said it, not me. I reacted the way I did yesterday because that’s what I am like, I am face to face.
“I prefer to be called rubbish than to have my professionalism doubted. If that happens, I become vicious.”
The ongoing insubordination and managerial chaos at Palermo is almost entirely due to the behaviour of the club’s notoriously ill-tempered president Maurizio Zamparini, who has a long history of hiring and firing coaches like he’s working on commission.
Zamparini first hired Ballardini in mid-November after dismissing his predecessor, Giuseppe Iachini, in the immediate aftermath after a 1-0 win over Chievo.
Ballardini was then sacked last Thursday after just seven games in charge, with Zamparini calling in Iachini to take over again.
Iachini, however, made the fatal error of requesting a few signings to bolster the squad. Zamparini threw his toys out of the pram and cancelled the offer before rehiring Ballardini just three days after letting him go.
Now, it would appear that Ballardini is once again on the brink having ‘lost the dressing room’, so to speak – which must surely be some kind of record.
In fact, Sorrentino pretty much summed it up the whole palaver while ranting to Sky Italia:
“I don’t know if the coach will be sacked, but I just want to say that if he is then we are in history because it’ll be the second time this season our tactician has been fired after a victory.”