Sky Sport is running a series of interviews with sporting directors because of the start of the transfer market and they commenced with Juventus one Fabio Paratici, who inevitably talked about the Cristiano Ronaldo deal. “When I met with Jorge Mendes to discuss Joao Cancelo, he told me: ‘You will not believe this but Cristiano wants to join Juventus.’ I answered: ‘I believe it, but it is difficult to make it work. My son has always been a big fan of him, I bought him a Portugal jersey, and through the years he repeatedly asked me why we were not buying him and I replied that it was impossible. I could not find an answer when he made the question again after we pulled it off. It was an easy negotiation because he was determined to come here.”
On Giuseppe Marotta: “We were well-assorted and complementary. I dealt with the more technical aspects of the job, like scouting, talking with agents and finding the players. We always discussed the deals together, because he is very experienced and knows football, he was aware of the numbers and how far a negotiation could go. I brought the deals to the final stage and then he swooped in to help me avoid making mistakes.”
On his style: “It is true that I often follow multiple leads to run interference and raise the price tag, but everybody does that. It is not even a strategy on my part, I am just obsessed with knowledge, I am very curious when I hear about some rumours or I catch wind that somebody else is after a player. I think this is a virtue, I always look deep into things to try to know why. This stimulates me a lot. When you try to get some information about a player, they are naturally linked to you and then you become a potential buyer.”
On the most draining negotiation: “The longest one was for Carlos Tevez. We had already reached out to him on our first season, when we had not done well and we were looking to bounce back. We called him even if we did not qualify to Champions League and that is a problem for big-time players. He gave his greenlight nonetheless, but we did not manage to buy him for economic reasons. However, we stayed in touch and bringing him in became my goal.”
On Andrea Agnelli: “He is very hands-on and he is a daily presence. It is very easy to set up a meeting with him and. Around the time we were chasing Cristiano and we were planning few things, I told him that there could have been an opportunity and that he should hear me out thoroughly, because it was a good sports news but there are other sides to it. However, he immediately realized what it could have meant for the brand and that he was looking in that direction. When I left his office, I believed we could get him. He asked me for a day or two to think about it but he called me after three hours. We went on a retreat on a lake to finalize the contracts, with all our lawyers and Ronaldo’s ones, I simply supervised that, it took about a day to reach all the agreements. We had not planned this purchase beforehand.”
On Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri: “Conte was not attached to the name of a player, he cared about his functionality in his system, which is legitimate and makes finding reinforcements easier. He had his game plan and we had to identify the right fits. Allegri is more flexible in that regard, he is more open-minded, so we have a wider scope. As a football fan, I am lucky for having had the opportunity to see high-caliber players practice every day, that is the only moment where I turn off the phone. I enjoyed Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba, Dani Alves, Gianluigi Buffon. This is a great satisfaction. Winning Champions League is our ambition but not an obsession.”
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