Saturday, 9 January 2016

What was Cellino really like at Cagliari?

We know a lot about Massimo Cellino's ownership of Leeds, but I've always been a little hazy about his time at Cagliari.

What are the facts and what is folklore?

Because the past can help us to predict the future, I asked Corriere della Serra's Giuseppe Amisani about Cellino.

Amisani got to know the maverick Italian very well during his two decades at Cagliari, although he emphasises their relationship was one of professional respect, not friendship.


Amisani: "The family business was founded by the father of Massimo Cellino, who was called Ercole and was from Piedmont. Gradually, the children took over the family business. Massimo - who I call Max - has two brothers, Alberto and Giorgio, and two sisters, Rossana and Lucina.

Rossana is a doctor. The other children participated in various capacities in family activities. With the passage of time, Massimo took over the shares of his brothers and sisters. In June 1992, he decided to buy Cagliari Calcio."


"Cellino was a good owner of Cagliari and was able to enhance the team and find many unknown stars.

With the fans he has always had a relationship of love and hate, depending on the results of the team.

When Cagliari were fine, everyone was happy. When the team was losing, the fans challenged the president.

In his final years as president, his enthusiasm waned and so did his popularity, so he decided to sell everything.

He always tried to be on the side of the fans I would say, choosing to keep the prices of the tickets as low as he could.

He had so many sports directors and many coaches though, this is true. But the arrival of a large number of unknowns as Victor Ibarbo was possible thanks to his intuition.

He is a football expert, so his coaches always compared him to the technical director of the club."


"Max married his wife in 1983 after returning from Australia. He went there to get experience and to open a new market for the family business.

Speculation about his personal life? Well, the fans always focused only on the performance of the team. I'd say he was a good president, though perhaps a little eccentric. But he acted for the good of Cagliari.

Sometimes there were excesses and hasty decisions that he took on instinct. But this is Massimo Cellino."


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