ROME - Sacked Palermo coach Serse Cosmi
says he was told to drop top striker Fabrizio Miccoli by the
club president in the latest wacky episode at the Serie A club.
Featuring a "real diamond", a slighted captain, an "old
doctor", an outspoken president, two jilted coaches, three shock
results and an unlikely reunion, the last two months at the
Sicilian club have been straight out of a soap opera.
Cosmi, who was dismissed within hours of Palermo's 4-0
defeat at island rivals Catania on Sunday, said captain Miccoli
had asked to be left out of the team after hearing that
president Maurizio Zamparini preferred Javier Pastore.
"At 10 o'clock on Sunday morning, president Zamparini asked
me what the team was. I told him Pastore was out and Miccoli in.
He went into a rage and we had a huge argument," Cosmi told the
Gazzetta dello Sport website on Thursday.
"Then just before the game, Miccoli came up to me with tears
in his eyes and said, 'coach, look after yourself. Leave me out - I know everything'."
But instead of playing Pastore, who he describes as a "real
diamond", Cosmi picked Uruguayan Abel Hernandez as the forward,
saying the Argentine was weary after being away with the
Cosmi, whose one-month tenure had brought victory against
leaders AC Milan but three defeats, became Zamparini's 18th
victim in his nine years as Palermo owner.
Then in a surprising twist, Delio Rossi - casualty No.17
who the colourful president roared had "ruined my Palermo" after
a record 7-0 home defeat to Udinese in February - was persuaded
to return to the dugout.
"I knew he would be mad at me," said Zamparini, who calls
Rossi the "old doctor".
"But I phoned and told him I had made a mistake and that he
was the one who could get the team to play as they had done in
the first half of the season. Cosmi didn't know the team, he was
confused and the players didn't accept him."
Last term Rossi led Palermo to an impressive fifth in Serie
A, just missing out on the Champions League qualifiers.
Palermo, who are eighth and meet Milan in the semi-finals of
the Italian Cup later this month, host Cesena on Sunday when the
president is not expected to give his usual post-match analysis.
"I promised Rossi that I would no longer speak to reporters
after matches," Zamparini said.
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