December 8, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Parma: Notes From a Year in Serie A

By |2020-04-11T00:19:57+02:00December 29th, 2003|Books, Recent Reviews|
Ancelotti during his Parma stint.

By Greg Burke

Victor Gollancz, 1998. 224 pages.


ive Burke credit for forward thinking. In one paragraph he calls Walter Veltroni (now mayor of Rome and leftist bigwig) the “would-be Tony Blair of Italian politics,” a “non-hard core leftist, but a kind of radical chic, Bobby Kennedy figure.” Veltroni is also a Juventus fan — ahimè. This is a fine little book about soccer in Italy circa 1997, which now seems like a bygone era.

Or does it?

Burke, an American journalist who has lived in Italy since 1990, followed Parma (coached by Carlo Ancelotti and owned by Parmalat’s since-disgraced Tanzis) through the ’97-98 season. Burke gets great tidbits — Fabio Cannavaro started as a Napoli ball boy — and hints at storm clouds: Chapter 17 is titled: “Blame the Ref (You might be Right)”. When Ronaldo, playing for Inter, was denied an obvious goal against Juve he protested bitterly. But a louder voice prevailed. “Ronaldo missed a good opportunity to keep quiet; he’s learned Italy too quickly.”

The speaker? Luciano Moggi. Truth is stranger than fiction.

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