24 December 2018
From his childhood on football pitches in the Piacenza area, to the “Signing of the Century” – Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus – Fabio Paratici touched on a whole host of topics in a special feature interview with Sky Sport Italia.
Juventus’ Chief Football Officer describes himself as a man “obsessed by knowledge” and his passion and dedication comes across very clearly during Il Codice Paratici [The Paratici Code], as well as his ambition to keep growing Juventus.
Fabio Paratici’s love for the game runs very deep, all the way back to his childhood.
“My father was the president of our local football club,” he explains. “That was the first club I played for and my first transfer, when I moved from Borgonovese to Piacenza aged 14.
“I remember him taking me to see lots of summer tournaments when I was a boy and that probably had an influence on my future career.
“As someone who’s hugely passionate about football, I feel lucky to have had the chance to watch some of the world’s best footballers train every day over the last decade. I don’t answer the phone when training is in progress.”
The Bianconeri Chief Football Officer admits that curiosity is one of the secrets of his success.
“I’m obsessed with knowledge,” Paratici says. “When I see or hear about ongoing talks for a certain player, I want to learn everything about him. It’s something that really appeals to me.”
Of course, negotiations can take many forms and some turn out to be tougher than others.
“The most drawn-out negotiations were for [Carlos] Tevez. We contacted him at the end of my first year with Juve when we were looking to rebuild the team. And even though we weren’t in the Champions League, he immediately said yes. It didn’t come off in the end, for different reasons, but we stayed in contact. I always wanted to bring Tevez to Juve.”
THE RONALDO DEAL
Paratici went on to discuss the “Signing of the Century” Juve pulled off last summer, when Cristiano Ronaldo joined from Real Madrid.
“The Cristiano deal was actually quite simple because he already had this idea of wanting to come to Juve,” Paratici explains.
“After the Champions League final he was very determined to make it happen and when I met Jorge Mendes to discuss [Joao] Cancelo he said to me, ‘You won’t believe this but Cristiano wants to join Juve.’ It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it but we needed to find a way to make everything fit into place.
“So I went to the President, who is very much involved in our work on a daily basis, and I said: ‘We have this opportunity but you have to hear me out.’ He clocked on straight away and immediately started considering it. He told me to give him a day or two to think about it but then he called me just three hours later.”
The acquisition of Ronaldo was one of the best presents any Juve fan could have hoped for – including Paratici’s own son.
“Ronaldo wasn’t a player we had planned to sign. My son, who is a huge fan of his, used to ask me when we were going to buy him and each time I had to tell him it was impossible. After it happened last summer he came up to me and said, ‘Didn’t you say it was impossible?’”
Paratici went on to speak about his relations with some of the men he has worked with at Juventus.
“I think [Giuseppe] Marotta and I complemented each other very well. I dealt with the more technical aspects but discussed matters with him because he’s highly experienced and understands how football and negotiations work. He helped me to make as few mistakes as possible.
“[Antonio] Conte wasn’t the sort of coach who looks at the name of the player but whether or not they’re functional to his ideas, and that makes it easier for whoever’s job it is to find functional players.
“[Massimiliano] Allegri is more flexible in that sense, so it gives you a bit more margin for manoeuvre in the transfer market.”
Paratici ended the interview with a word of thanks for all the people who help in him in his daily work, the ultimate aim of which is to keep improving Juventus constantly and to take the club to the top of Europe: “We aspire to win the Champions League but we’re not obsessed about it,” he concludes.