29.11.2015 13:00 - in: Serie A S

      Rosanero club guide

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      As the Bianconeri and Rosanero get set to meet one another for the 53rd time in Serie A, Juventus.com takes a good look at Sunday’s Sicilian opposition

      Formed in 1900 as Anglo Panormitan Athletic and Football Club, Palermo originally played in red and blue until 1907 when they adopted the new colours of pink and black that have stayed with them until the present day.

      In 1920 the Rosanero were admitted to the first Sicilian Federal Championship, which they won that very year, beating off competition from Catania, Messina and Marsala in the process.

      Palermo’s 115-year existence could be described as little short of a rollercoaster ride. Besides needing to reform in 1927, 1940 and 1987 due to financial problems, the club’s chequered history is characterised by constant yo-yoing between leagues, gaining promotion on 13 occasions between the fourth and first divisions of Italian football.

      The Rosanero experienced Coppa Italia heartache on two occasions in quick succession, losing on penalties to Bologna in the 1974 final before falling to a late winner by former player Franco Causio in Juventus’ 2-1 success in 1979. A third defeat at the competition’s last hurdle would come 22 years later with Inter the victors that year.

      The club’s fortunes have largely seen an upturn since the arrival of club president Maurizio Zamparini in the summer of 2002. Although the Udine-born businessman is best known for the 30 managerial changes he has made in 13 and a half years in Sicily, it is under his ownership that Palermo won promotion to Serie A in 2004, followed immediately by a handful of lofty league finishes and subsequent Europa League campaigns.

      Results would drop dramatically at the turn of the decade culminating in relegation to Serie B in 2013 and a raft of changes to playing personnel. With Giuseppe Iachini at the helm, however, the team returned to Italy’s top flight at the first time of asking, while setting a record points total (86) in the second tier. After a bright first season back in Serie A, Palermo’s slow start to 2015/16 saw Iachini replaced by Davide Ballardini earlier this month.

      The manager

      Davide Ballardini commenced his second spell in charge of Palermo after replacing Iachini on 10 November. His previous season in charge of the Rosanero, in 2008-09 was a largely positive one, as the side finished in 8th place in Serie A, recording a record 17 victories in the process.

      The 52-year-old has managed five clubs in Italy’s top flight with varying degrees of success. Of his three stints with Cagliari, his second was undoubtedly the one for which he is most fondly remembered in Sardinia, as his arrival in the dugout midway through 2007-08 led to nine victories in the new year that saved the Rossoblù from relegation danger.

      His two periods at Genoa saw him guide the Grifoni to a credible 10th place in 2011 before keeping them up two years later, incidentally at Palermo’s expense. His time at Lazio, however, was far from fruitful, as the Biancolesti flirted with the drop in 2009-10, while his previous job with Bologna coincided with their fall into Serie B in 2014.

      His first match back at the helm of the Rosanero resulted in a 1-1 draw away to his former employers Lazio.

      The Stadium

      The Stadio Renzo Barbera was given its current name in 2002 in honour of a former club president, but it has had many previous titles since its construction in 1932 and the opening match, which saw the Rosanero defeat Atalanta 5-1.

      In 1984, the building of a second tier increased the capacity to 50,000 seats, but the club only ever managed to fill the ground twice, as Palermo failed to win promotion back to Serie A for another 20 years.

      The stadium hosted three World Cup group games in 1990, a trio of draws between Egypt, Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. In preparation for the tournament, standing areas were filled in with seats, thus reducing the capacity to 36,349.

      Form book and key men

      After taking seven points from their first three matches of the season, Palermo suffered a dramatic dip in form, losing six of their following eight fixtures. This run of results, which represents the Rosanero’s second-worst start to a Serie A campaign in the last decade, would ultimately lead to the dismissal of Giuseppe Iachini.

      Davide Ballardini began his second stint at the club with a respectable draw away to Lazio last weekend and the experienced manager will be hoping to record his maiden victory since taking over the reins, while his players are looking to secure back-to-back league wins at the Stadio Renzo Barbera for the first time since February.

      Gilardino netted in November's home win over Chievo.
      Hiljemark's three goals all came in September.

      Palermo have struggled to find the target this term after failing to net more than once in each of their last six Serie A matches. Experienced forward Alberto Gilardino and Swedish midfielder Oscar Hiljemark are joint-top in the side’s scoring charts with three apiece, while centre-back Giancarlo Gonzalez has chipped in with two.

      The Costa Rican has also been the team’s top performer in defence, making the most amount of defensive blocks (nine) and interceptions (20). Meanwhile, going forward, Franco Vazquez remains crucial to creating opportunities in the final third and is the Rosanero’s most prolific provider of goals with four assists to his name so far this season.

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