Virtus owner slams Scariolo: 'He treated us like we were 2nd division team'

Orazio Cauchi
Staff Writer
2023-09-18 10:45

During the official introduction of the new head coach, Luca Banchi, Virtus Bologna's majority owner, Massimo Zanetti, criticized former head coach Sergio Scariolo.

Credit: Zuma Press – Scanpix
Credit Zuma Press – Scanpix

Virtus Segafredo Bologna officially introduced Luca Banchi as the new head coach of the club after firing Sergio Scariolo just a few days ago. 

However, the press conference, which was supposed to be dedicated to the new coach, quickly turned into a personal show of Virtus' majority owner, Massimo Zanetti. 

The club owner took some time to criticize former head coach Scariolo and made it clear that his club is one of the most important in Europe and should be treated accordingly. 

"I consider Sergio Scariolo, a great coach," Zanetti told in the press conference. "I even defended him in some circumstances when some of the higher ranks of the club weren't happy. But every relationship comes to an end; something happened."

"We should not forget the meetings he had with the Toronto Raptors and Real Madrid last season while he was still under contract with Virtus," Zanetti added.

Virtus owner also made a claim that Scariolo didn't want veterans Milos Teodosic and Marco Bellinelli on his team.

"I believe this team is really strong because Scariolo built it together with our Paolo Ronci," Zanetti continued. "At the end of the day, only Teodosic left. I had a great relationship with Teodosic, but we should not forget that back in October last season, Scariolo didn't want Teodosic and Belinelli because they were too old for him. He didn't use them in many games."

Sergio Scariolo Milos Teodosic
Sergio Scariolo Milos Teodosic
Credit SIPA – Scanpix

"I had to fight for them," Virtus' majority owner added. "Luckily, we were able to extend the contract of Belinelli. Teodosic had some injuries and didn't accept our contract extension offer. In the end, I think it was the right move for him to return to Belgrade. But despite his departure, this team is really strong."

"Lundberg? Scariolo already wanted him gone last season, how can he say that it was our decision to keep him out of the roster?", Zanetti said. "Back in April with Scariolo we shook our hands and I told him that he could have built the team in the way he preferred. He didn't want any of the older players, not only Teodosic and Belinelli, but also Weems, my favorite, and Hackett, whom I saw crying outside of the locker room"

Zanetti also criticized Scariolo for his appearance during the negotiations with the Toronto Raptors and Real Madrid.

"When Scariolo had those meetings with Raptors and Real, he treated us like we were a second-division team. Virtus is the team with the biggest number of supporters in Italy. I consider my club the most important in the country," Zanetti specified. "You cannot treat this club like any other." 

The majority owner of the club also explained that the EuroLeague imposed the decision to reduce the budget and that he didn't like how the media pictured the situation. 

"It's been 6 months that we've been treated like we were without money. We have the second-biggest budget in Italy. The decision about this season's budget was imposed by the EuroLeague. It wasn't our decision. Many people tend to forget that we also invest a lot of money in women's basketball," Zanetti concluded.


We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!

Add comment

  Subscribe   Total comments: 0

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website