Overjoyed Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan has hailed his move to Premier League giants Arsenal, the team he supported as a kid back home, as “surreal”.
With the last round of Serie A done, only two managers won’t get to eat their panettone.
According to the Italian footballing proverb, a struggling manager non mangia il panettone – he won’t eat the panettone, a kind of Christmas brioche – signalling he won’t make it to the end of the year.
This season Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Iachini and Genoa’s Rolando Maran are the only two managers who won’t eat their cake at their team’s Christmas dinner.
Last season a record seven managers didn’t last to the panettone. Brescia Corini was even fired and called back before being fired again in the new year.
While statistically a change of manager is not a cure for bad results, it is seen in Italy as sending the right message from the team leadership to overturn the results on the field despite the fact that most of the time the bad results are caused by mismanagement outside of it.
Badly conducted transfers, scarce investments and lack of trust in the team are more often the real cause of bad performances by the players. Although it cannot be denied that some managers just don’t fit in the environment, they were chosen by the same presidents who decide to fire them to ‘save the season’. How ironic.
Both Iachini and Maran pay for their teams. Iachini was thanked for his effort and wished all the best for his future career. Fiorentina decided the results obtained were not enough for the team with one round remaining for the year, with just three two, five draws and six losses to show for the season to date.
Former Fiorentina and Italy coach Cesare Prandelli then took over to end 2020 with the sweetest victory possible in Florence: a dominant 3-0 against archival Juventus.
Maran is the next victim at Genoa. The club has fired and hired two managers a season after the end of Giampiero Gasperini’s second tenure at the oldest club in Italy in 2016. Genoa was lagging at the bottom of the ladder when Maran was let go. He will not be missed in the harbour city.
His replacement, Davide Ballardini, has been called to the rescue at Genoa for the fourth time and is a welcome figure by the disenchanted tifosi rossoblu.
Ballardini led Genoa to a rare away win in his first game, the first Serie A Ligurian derby at Spezia, leapfrogging Torino and Crotone to move away from last place on the ladder – a welcome Christmas gift for the rossoblu.
For sure the merry-go-round is not over in Serie A, and the teams lagging at the bottom of the ladder will look at a change at the helm to try to change their destiny, but for now 18 of the 20 managers can eat their panettone in the clubhouse they walked into in August.