Massimo Zanetti was interviewed by Andrea Tosi in the Gazzetta dello Sport.
An excerpt of his words.
President Zanetti, with basketball it all started from…? From that promise I made to the late Alberto Bucci. He wanted me to bring Virtus back up, I replied that I would do it for him, now ill for some time, and for the city of Bologna where I arrived in 1973, at the age of 25, starting my entrepreneurial career
At his first final (the A2 Italian Cup won in 2017) he said that in 5 years he would bring the team back to the Scudetto and to Europe. In the first case, he anticipated the times. Did he really foresee everything? It was a logical path for me. I joined my ad Baraldi with the plan to bring Virtus back to where he deserves to be. We have grown over time by setting intermediate goals while also acquiring the club. In this process, the pandemic has shortened the times so we have done it even earlier than expected “.
When did the real spark ignite? When I saw Virtus relegate to Reggio Emilia on TV. My daughter, a virtuoso supporter, was very dejected and I was disappointed too. She then called me Bucci and now I’m happy here to have dedicated myself to this most beautiful and spectacular sport of football. An assist from Teodosic makes me jump out of my chair. These are emotions that I do not experience in other sports than in cycling.
With the Champions League he put Virtus back on the European map. But it wasn’t enough … That cup was the first step but then they told me that I had won my grandfather’s cup and so we joined the Eurocup to return to the Euroleague. Also in this case we could have arrived early if it hadn’t been for that defeat against Kazan.
Did Teodosic speed up all your plans? His engagement put us in the spotlight of all international basketball and he paved the way for the other big names to come later.
How much has your commitment been to Virtus so far? A lot of money, I should count, but everything is in order and in any case I spent much less than the competition. I am not a patron but a man and an entrepreneur who grew up in sports and sports who have always invested in what he believes. I put Senna in Formula One at Toleman, the champion of champions. I also formed a stable with Cecotto at Theodore. In football I was vice president and president of Bologna. Then came cycling and basketball wheel. I’ve met great people. I could write a free one, in fact maybe I will write it.
After Teodosic he took many aces for the field and the bench. Was it the only strategy to play it safe? Yes, because the objective was to set up the strongest team to return to the Euroleague after the disappointment of last year and we were good at taking advantage of the opportunities. The Russian campaign, with the arrival of Hackett and Shengelia, was handled excellently by Baraldi. Now this team can move forward in time.
Are you already on the market? Next year we will make a maximum of two grafts but it depends on how the options for the renewals of Mannion and Shengelia evolve. On the latter we are well advanced
Which player is the symbol of your management? Definitely Pajola. She has always been with us. She has a contract until 2025 but we want to move forward. He will be the club’s flag as long as I remain, the new Brunamonti. I like Ale’s determination, with him on the pitch the team always plays. I just hope he doesn’t want to go to the NBA.
She does not like comparisons with the Virtus of the past and yet she has nothing to fear as the only president to have won two European cups. Is there a reason? Not a nuisance, but by nature I prefer to look forward. Moreover, in these days I have received calls and messages from great ex: Cazzola, Danilovic and Djordjevic congratulated on the victory in Eurocup. I was pleased.
Virtus hasn’t won two league titles in a row since 1992-94 … I guess we will play it again with Milan but beware of Brescia: it seems to me a very tough team.
Even in the women he went strong. We have both Virtus in the Euroleague, a feat without equal. Even with women I want the Scudetto. It would be the first time in Bologna.
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ZANETTI: THE SPARK BORN WITH THE RETROCESSION OF REGGIO EMILIA. PAJOLA PLAYER SYMBOL OF MY MANAGEMENT – BOLOGNABASKET | THE BASKETBALL PORTAL IN BOLOGNA AND THE PROVINCE
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