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Parma Calcio - The Long Road Back

Started on 17 December 2023 by Man0war
Latest Reply on 24 December 2023 by Jack
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Man0war's avatar Group Man0war
4 monthsEdited

Footballing legend Buffon retires from football
August 2023

Italian great Gianluigi Buffon has announced his retirement from professional football aged 45, as he hangs up his gloves for the final time.

A World Cup winner regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time, Buffon enjoyed a 28-year-long career that saw him start and end his career at boyhood club Parma, while becoming a club legend at Juventus across a two decade spell interrupted only by a season-long stint in Paris.

His professional debut came at the age of 17 in 1995, and within four years he would win the Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup and the Italian Supercoppa at Parma before moving for a then world-record transfer fee for a goalkeeper in 2001.

Gianluigi was contracted with Parma Calcio until the summer of 2024, but has terminated his deal a year earlier and confirmed his retirement in a video posted on social media. He has performed for the last two seasons at his boyhood club and made 18 appearances in the last campaign.

Earlier reports were linking Buffon to a role as Italy's national team delegation chief, however it has been announced that he will take on the currently vacant Director of Football role at Parma - signing to a five-year-deal. The club have recently hired unknown English manager Asher Sicze (pronounced six) in an attempt to return to the Serie A following their re-relegation back to the second tier in the 20/21 season.

On taking the role, Buffon stated:

"I reached three Champions League finals in my career, but the trophy was always just out of reach. I have achieved everything else I could ever want to in this game.

I can now no longer win the competition as a player. My body is old and I am ready to rest. That does not mean I cannot still impact a team and help to guide them to victory.

There are many steps to getting there - but it is my goal to bring Parma Calcio back to the forefront of Italian football, and perhaps we can win the trophy together.

It is a long road back."
Man0war's avatar Group Man0war
4 monthsEdited

Parma sign Slovenian youth international Antolin
August 2023

Following this summer's earlier signings of Anthony Partipilo from Ternana (£1,300,000) and Antonio Colak from Rangers (£2,500,000), Parma have dipped their toes into the market once more this summer with the signing of Slovenian U21 international Aljaž Antolin from Maribor.

The midfielder, who has one goal in nine caps for the Slovenia U21 side, joins the Serie B outfit for an initial £1,000,000 fee which could rise to £1,200,000 should certain conditions be met.

Antolin is a name that will likely be more familiar to fans in his home country than those in Italy, with the 21-year-old starting his career at NS Mura Murska Sobota in July 2018, before breaking into the first team and making two appearances before spending the next six months on loan at ND Beltinci.

The Mura side lifted the Slovenian First League in 2021, before Aljaž would join NK Maribor on a free transfer the following season. Across two years with Maribor, the midfielder made 44 appearances - scoring one goal as the Vijolicasti lifted the Slovenian First League in 2022 and finished third in 2023.

Antolin has joined on a three-year-deal at the Ennio Tardini Stadium, becoming part of what is an already youthful core to the Crociati as they enter a new footballing era.

Elsewhere, former Barcelona and Freiburg defender Carlos Gallego, 20, is thought to be putting the finishing touches on a move that would see him join Parma on a free transfer following the exits of young centrebacks Lenny Manisa to Bologna for £250,000 and Peter Amoran to Pisa for the same fee.

Manager Asher Sicze praised Antolin's "early work ethic" in training and spoke very highly of his new signing in the club's latest press conference, and his first since taking control of the club.

City youngster one of three to join Parma
August 2023

Parma have today confirmed the signing of three new arrivals as we tick closer to the start of the season. Tomas Galvez joins from Manchester City for a fee of around £300,000, while German youth prospects Adrian Doci (£47,500 from Wolfsburg) and John Freyberg (free) also join for the upcoming campaign.

Galvez, who has spent time in the Watford and Manchester City academies is eligible to represent Finland, England and Spain at international level, but has two caps for the Finnish U21 side. An 18-year-old, the left-back is yet to play a game of senior football but big things are expected of the youngster. He has represented his former club in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy (formerly the Papa Johns Trophy), playing against Mansfield in 2022. Tomas has joined on a two-year deal.

Doci, an attacking midfielder could represent Germany or Albania at international level but is yet to appear at youth level for either side. Little is known about the midfielder and he has only played for VfL Wolfsburg's youth side. The 18-year-old has joined Parma on a two-year deal, with an option for a further year.

Freyburg, who can operate as a midfielder or a right back, has joined on a free transfer after being released by German side Darmstadt 98 earlier this summer. The German, who has not played internationally at any level, has signed a three-year deal at the Ennio Tradini Stadium, with a clause of an extra year should Parma achieve promotion. He will be looking to make his first senior appearance in the Serie B.

The youngsters are the fifth deal to happen under the control of Gianluigi Buffon and Asher Sicze at Parma, with Aljaž Antolin and Carlos Gallego joining earlier this month.

In other news at the club, 21-year-old French midfielder Antoine Hainaut has joined Serie C side Cesena FC on a season-long loan, while 24-year-old Congolese striker Gabriel Charpentier has joined Serie B rivals Spezia on a season-long loan which will become permanent if the side are promoted.

The new regime at Parma got off to winning ways with the first competitive game of the season - an away fixture against Frosinone in the First Round of the Coppa Italia.

The Crociati took the lead within 25 seconds as veteran defender Cristian Ansaldi played a sumptuous through ball for Dennis Man to latch on to, who cut the ball into a central position for Roberto Inglese to fire into the top right corner. Inglese had broken the record for the fastest goal in the competition with his first goal of the season in front of an away support of 159.

12 minutes later and Frosinone, a Serie A side currently, had equalised through Soule, with the Argentinian striking from just inside the box to beat third-choice goalkeeper Chichizola - who was unable to stretch to reach the attempt as it nestled in the net.

On the brink of half-time, Inglese would bag his brace and put Parma ahead once more. Colak played a lofted ball over the Frosinone defence to find the forward in acres of space and with more to run on to. The striker drove his shot low and at goal, toward the bottom left, where it nestled beyond the home side's 'keeper.

Nahuel Estevez would extend Parma's lead just before the hour mark as the ball fell to the midfielder on the edge of the box after Wylan Cyprien was tackled. Estevez flicked the ball away from an on-rushing defender before firing a low drive towards goal, which the Frosinone goalkeeper was forced to parry into his own net.

Six minutes later and the home side's Caleb Okoli would net what would turn out to be a consolation goal, heading past Chichizola from a corner.

Despite being the perceived weaker side, Parma dominated the proceedings in front of goal and in terms of possession on the pitch - and were well worth their victory.

Frosinone vs Parma
13 Shots 20
7 On Target 9
1.36 xG 2.16
38% Possession 62%
313 Passes completed 518

Matchday One
August 2023

Parma vs Reggiana
17 Shots 5
7 On Target 0
1.94 xG 0.50
65% Possession 35%
457 Passes completed 251

The first game of the season was here, and so was derby day. Rivals Reggiana travelled to play in front of a 20,000 strong crowd in Parma and were humbled.

Parma opened the scoring after 12 minutes, after a headed clearance from a corner found its way back out wide for Adrian Bernabe, who entered the box and cut it back to a central position on the edge of the box for debutant Aljaž Antolin to fire low into the bottom left.

The second goal came at the end of the first half as Bernabe fired a free-kick into the area, which Circati rose to meet - heading to the near post where Roberto Inglese was waiting to head beyond Barci in the Reggiana net.

In the 77th minute, a third goal came for Parma as Sohm intercepted a loose ball and played it into Inglese, who turned on a dime and slotted a ball through to Colak. His shot was low, rolling under the 'keeper and into the back of the net.

The final goal of the game came six minutes from time as captain Delprato combined with Bernabe on the right - before the Spaniard lofted a diagonal ball to the left where fullback Woyo Coulibaly was in acres of space. Coulibaly fired a volley on his left foot, which left the Reggiana 'keeper stranded as it nestled in the goal.

Matchday Two
August 2023

Ternana vs Parma
9 Shots 14
2 On Target 8
1.53 xG 2.52
47% Possession 53%
344 Passes completed 389

Matchday two saw Parma have to fight back from behind as Ternana took a two-goal lead in the first half. Diakite, out on the right, opened the scoring as he weaved his way past two Parma players to the touchline, before firing past Turk who stood rooted at his near post.

A mistake from Turk and Balogh gifted Ternana their second in the 38th minute, as the 'keepers pass came up short, leaving Balogh stretching to reach it. Ternana's Dionisi made it to the ball first and found himself bearing down on goal, behind the defence, before firing an effort that looped over the on-rushing Parma goalkeeper and into the net.

In added time at the end of the half Parma pulled a goal back. Benedyczak headed down a goal kick to Antolin, who ran out wide with the ball before playing a ball into the box for Benedyczak to fire emphatically home. A well worked one-two that travelled the entire Ternana half.

The hour mark saw Parma equalise, as Inglese picked up the ball on the half way line and slotted a ball forward to Benedyczak, who poked it through to Antolin. The Slovenian midfielder played a low cross into the box, where an onrushing Dennis Man found himself able to bury the ball.

Nahuel Estevez picked up another great goal in this game in the 69th minute, firing from outside of the box an effort that slipped past the entire Ternana defence and wound up in the back of the net.

Dennis Man would bag his brace just two minutes before the end of the 90 after a well worked sequence of passes found him with time and space in the Ternana box, where he was able to loop a ball over the opposition 'keeper.

Matchday Three
August 2023

Parma vs Lecco
34 Shots 6
9 On Target 1
2.52 xG 1.43
65% Possession 35%
483 Passes completed 260

Despite dominating possession and having a glut of shots throughout the game, Parma's fixture against Lecco at the Ennio Tardini Stadium was not easy.

Roberto Inglese opened the scoring after half an hour, with Antolin slotting a ball through to the Italian forward - who was able to round an onrushing defender and curl an effort into the bottom right corner.

Lecco equalised 10 minutes later as goalkeeper Corvi was forced to get down low to parry a Novakovic shot from three yards away. The save fell to a central position where Tordini was waiting to bury into an open net.

Parma's second came in the 74th minute as substitute Partipilo was able to play a ball out to the right hand side of the box, where Aljaž Antolin was able to connect first time and fire into the top left corner of the goal.

The third came as Nahuel Estevez's corner was headed back out to him on the left and the midfielder raced into the box and attempted to curl an effort into the top right. His shot deflected off Lecco's Giudici, diverting the direction of the ball as it wound up in the bottom left.

Loving these graphics! Some incredible results to go along with it too

Antolin picks up Serie B Player of the Month
August 2023

New signing at the Ennio Tardini Stadium, Aljaž Antolin, has picked up the Serie B Player of the Month award for August after taking to life at Parma with ease.

The Slovenian youth international scored the opening goal on his debut as his side ran amok against rivals Reggiana, dispatching the side 4-0 at home.

Antolin then followed that performance up as his side won 4-2 against Ternana with a hat-trick of assists - finishing the game with a 9.2 match rating.

The 21-year-old would then round out the month by picking up a goal and an assist against Lecco in Parma's 3-1 victory at the Ennio Tardini.

The new boy, who signed for £1,000,000, will have plenty to adorn his mantelpiece in his new home from just the opening month of the season, taking home two Serie B Player of the Match awards in three games, before being awarded the league's Player of the Month gong.

Congratulations, Aljaž!

@Jack - That's big praise coming from you! Appreciate it. Hopefully we can keep the good times coming.
A real livewire, both goalscoring and creatively. Keeping up those performances, the rest of the team only has to worry about converting his chances that he creates!

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