Javier Pastore has been the most sought after player in all of Europe since his emergence on the scene last season. On Sunday afternoon he added to the legendary status he has garnered in Sicily and dramatically added to his value as well. He was not even supposed to play in the derby against Catania after the knee injury he sustained in Milan midweek. Having declared himself fit on Saturday, Delio Rossi, knowing of his importance, immediately inserted him into the line-up and Pastore controlled it from there.
This totally enthralling tie was dominated by the Argentinean playmaker, whose hat-trick led the 3-1 final scoreline. It was an extremely open encounter with both sides having numerous chances as they committed to forward play. The most impressive thing about the Rosanero performance was the reaction to conceding immediately after half time, which pulled them back level. The reaction to this mirrored exactly the Milanese reaction to Palermo’s equaliser, proving they can learn from their opponents. The force of the attack, on which they purposefully piled forward, led to an instantaneous goal and put them in the lead for good.
The man of the hour had plenty to say after: “It was an incredible game today, we are delighted to have rewarded the fans with such a good performance in the derby. If we can produce results like this every week then we can give the fans even more to shout about this season.”
Producing performances like this will also give Palermo a fighting chance of keeping their star man as well.
The Coach was equally enamoured with the performance: “Fortunately my men had that little bit more today and we were able to bring home an important win. Palermo have the potential to be a great side. Obviously if we want to continue building for the future, it is important we manage to keep hold of such players.”
The performance of Pastore and how much the team plays around him just underpins his importance to this Club. With every big club in Europe chasing this superstar, Palermo are hoping that the home he has built with this team and on the island will be enough to keep him in the Rosanero colours after this season.
Off of the field, all indications are that Zamparini is deadly serious about stepping aside and has even confirmed whom he wants to take over. Saudi Prince Abdul Moshin Al Hokair, who almost invested in the summer, is the right man for the job according to the departing President:“He is a person of great quality and value who could make Palermo into a Scudetto team.”
Upon hearing of a Middle Eastern investor, minds will always wonder to the riches of Manchester City and others of such ilk. It is unlikely such extravagant spending will occur as the Club doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a €1m per week wage bill, which would undoubtedly be the first priority of any new buyer.
Before all Palermo fans mentally spend the millions the Prince could bring, it is important to realise the sacrifice the Club will make if this happens. Money does not automatically bring success for football clubs. If this deal were to go through then the Prince would be wise to take up Zamparini’s offer: “I would still want to have a say in the club, but only as a consultant.”
With such a vested interest in the Club, he would be a tremendous asset to any new buyer and could bring a wealth of knowledge and experience of the Sicilian club to support any take over. For the Club’s sake, it will be best if a take-over could be done quickly, or for Zamparini to realise he still has a lot to offer and take the Club off the market.
The performance against their most fierce rivals was one they have been threatening for months now. With all the attacking talent available to Rossi, this team is so potent that they could dominate any defence in the league. With a maturing defence there is no reason this side can’t achieve their target of Champions League football. To do this, however, requires them to consistently perform at this high level. Which, as any successful team can testify, is the true challenge of a long season.