PRESS CONFERENCE | Nereo Bonato meets the media

First Team - 13 June 2024

Press conference at the Unipol Domus for Cagliari Calcio’s sporting director Nereo Bonato, who met with the media to take stock and take stock of the general situation in view of the new football season that will begin on 1 July 2024, with a look back at the year just ended.

‘We started the planning a year and a half ago in conjunction with the renewal of the corporate structure. Probably also because of the low profile we adopted, we did not fully succeed in communicating it to the outside world, to our people first and foremost. Alongside the sporting results on the field, we have increased the value of the squad on a technical level. There was great compactness due to the high moral values within and outside the team group. The club has structured itself inside and outside the playing field, giving great discontinuity compared to past managements. Now we have our hands quite free on the market because having lowered the wage bill there are resources to invest in revenue, we will have to be careful with the economic stakes but we certainly start with an advantage over the past. The restructuring has almost taken place, we are in a moment of transition that is also important to understand what potential we have to continue our growth, a year and a half after my arrival, which coincided with a phase of renewal and innovation within the club’.

‘We have always shared choices, even painful ones, between the areas of the club. All this has started to bring the hoped-for results, that is, promotion and staying in Serie A, now we need to consolidate in the category, after having managed existing contracts well and downsized the payroll. We have done a lot, but the current situation is a success after the effects of Covid that are still being felt in the budgets of all the clubs’.

“Leonardo Pavoletti is our leader, even if he has had a few injuries he is someone who feels the goal, he has experience, he is always very useful on and off the pitch. In addition to his, we have also renewed Kingstone’s contract because he is a young man we are counting on, who can grow a lot and has just started his journey in Italy and in Cagliari. We also have clear ideas on the market, but first it will be right to talk to the new coach. We start again with a more experienced squad, we will have to be good at making as few mistakes as possible. Personally I love working here, for this club, in a city where I feel at home and where there is maximum symbiosis between the team and the population. I feel, like everyone at the club, a great responsibility, because Cagliari is vital for Sardinia. We achieved salvation thanks to this compactness. And I hope this remains in the Serie A to come, it will be fundamental”.

“We don’t need to sell to finance revenue, we have a solid base and any disposal will only serve to improve the team and ensure the club’s growth. We need to shore up some departments, especially the forward area where we are a bit short in numbers. We will need some additions to the squad but we have very clear ideas, we will see a more limited turnover compared to last season and the fewer changes you make from one year to the next the closer you get to a good level, or at least to what you set yourself. Compared to last year I am much calmer, I see less uncertainty in this Cagliari team. We have players with a year of Serie A behind them, last year we took risks and came out well. Now we will intervene to improve this team and raise the level of the staff, which we know is necessary”.

‘A month before the championship ended he came to my office and told me he wanted to stay at Cagliari. He has already exposed himself to me. The situation is particular because he has an exit clause of 2 million that is valid until 10 August. He has expressed his desire to stay here. It’s clear that if an offer arrives that can’t be renounced we’ll raise our hands. A bit like what happened with Nandez, with whom there was mutual love but the economic aspect was clearly decisive, the Arab option allowed him not to have to face Cagliari and this was very important for him who loves this land and these colours so much’.

‘These are all choices made in agreement with coach Ranieri, a purchasing campaign cannot always be one hundred per cent perfect. Experience serves to lower the margin of error. Scuffet did very well, Jankto had a less constant and high performance, we will evaluate with the new coach what will be best to do. For Gaetano the discourse has remained open. Antonio Conte has asked to see him in training camp to then choose, Gianluca is a son of Naples and of Naples, we have lined up and we will see if it will be possible to bring him back to Cagliari. Shomurodov? He has high costs, he comes from a season where he struggled to settle in and then – once he recovered physically – he was important, we’ll see if the conditions are right to have him back with us’.

We are happy and proud for the call-up of our young players to the national team: Obert to the European Championship, Luvumbo, Sulemana and Kingstone with Angola, Ghana and Zambia, Veroli with the Italian Under-21 team. Cagliari has always focused on the youth sector and is now reaping the rewards, we cannot do without scouting young talents, at home and abroad, to make them grow and become important for the team, then aiming to capitalise where necessary to ensure a solid future for the club. We have many youngsters who have done very well on loan, some will get a chance with us and others will still need to gain experience elsewhere. Our roster does not start out as overly numerous so we will be able to make choices without confusion, the result of the planning that began a year and a half ago.

“Our philosophy is well defined, in the football market there are many dynamics and evolutions and anything can happen, even that a big name does not fit into the team’s plans and can return to the orbit of realities with different objectives. In January, you saw how we intervened in a targeted manner, perhaps in extremis, but then in the end we chose the right men in the right place at the right time”.

“The coach is a champion from whom we should always draw an example and to whom we should give gratitude. Even before the decisive match in Reggio Emilia he had already informed us of his intention to end his experience at Cagliari, and rightly so because he felt it was the right moment. We hoped he would reconsider, but we look ahead with our objectives and without giving smoke in our eyes. We have to optimise our resources, this is our path, which may be long but can certainly lead us to a continuous improvement in the standings and the consolidation of Cagliari at certain latitudes of Italian football’.

“Whoever it will be – and I won’t say more as there is a negotiation in progress – will pick up a heavy legacy and we all know that. We will have difficulties, as we had them with Ranieri on the bench, but these can only be overcome together. We must have the conviction that we are on an improving and shared path. We must deserve, we and the new coach, the trust that Ranieri received from the environment. Initially, however, the support of everyone for the project will be fundamental. On the other hand, we have lost an uncommon champion and it will take time to go further, but we will do it all together and with our ideas”.

“From the beginning we have been looking for a profile that would give technical continuity, capable of working with young players in a situation like Cagliari, which is ideal for this aspect. Serie A always asks for a mix of experience and youth, we will reflect with the new coach on every single one, while Mancosu and Aresti have closed their path as players here at Cagliari, I think the end on the pitch against Fiorentina was a good moment for them”. The minutes in the last match was a rewarding and beautiful moment for them”.

“All clubs have references, a general policy and characteristics that must match those of the coach who is chosen according to them. Last year we did a good job and we can shore up this squad, which is rejuvenated and without heavy situations. We will only sacrifice certain players if there is a financial proposal that we consider adequate and only if it allows us to strengthen the squad”.

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