Ghirardi dreams of Parma return to Europe

President Tommaso Ghirardi is already overjoyed with Parma's remarkable run but admits watching the club return to the European stage would be "the icing on the cake".

Parma's Marco Parolo and Amauri

The Gialloblu are unbeaten in 16 games and looking at snatching fourth place when they target a fourth straight win during Sunday's Serie A meeting with Genoa.

Parma are still recovering from the financial meltdown that nearly destroyed the club six years ago and, given the fact their resources remain modest compared to the rest of the top six, Ghirardi is hugely impressed.

He told fcparma.com: "It's already a triumph that we've achieved results during such a difficult time for the economy.

"We're surrounded by clubs who make a lot more money than we do.

"So if the icing on the cake (qualifying for Europe) happened, that would be fantastic.

"Many people believe that our new training centre - where the players can now all sleep and eat together - has influenced our revival, and it's true that a lot of important players have made the Parma jersey great again."

Midfielder Walter Gargano is injured while winger Marco Marchionni serves a one-match ban against Genoa.

The visitors to the Stadio Ennio Tardini have more pressing concerns with Antonio Donnarumma, Juraj Kucka, Sime Vrsaljko and Luca Antonini all sidelined and unable to feature.

Genoa made a terrible start to the season but can now consider themselves all but assured of the continuing presence in the top flight after coach Gian Piero Gasperini turned their fortunes around.

They have lost two games in a row, however, and Gasperini is still smarting after Juventus snatched a 1-0 victory at the Marassi with the latest of free-kicks from Andrea Pirlo.

He said: "Losing like that hurts incredibly badly. We played really well for 90 minutes. It really hurts."



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