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Hellas Verona

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Hellas Verona

Hellas Verona
Full name Hellas Verona Football Club
Nickname(s) Gialloblu (Yellow-Blues)
Mastini (Mastiffs)
gli Scaligeri (The Scaligers)
i butei ("the boys" in Veronese dialect)
Short name Verona
Founded 1903;  (1903)
Ground Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Ground Capacity 39,211[1]
President Maurizio Setti
Manager Andrea Mandorlini
League Serie A
2012–13 Serie B, 2nd (promoted)
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

Hellas Verona Football Club (commonly known simply as Verona, or Hellas within the city of Verona itself) are a professional Italian association football team, based in Verona, Veneto. The team won the Italian Serie A championship in 1984–85, and are playing in Serie A in 2013–14.


Origins and early history

Founded in 1903 by a group of high school students, the club was named Hellas (the Greek word for Greece), at the request of a professor of Classics.[2] At a time in which football was played seriously only in the larger cities of the Northwest of Italy, most of Verona was indifferent to the growing sport. However, when in 1906 two city teams chose the city's Roman amphitheatre as a venue to showcase the game, crowd enthusiasm and media interest began to rise.

During these first few years Hellas was one of three or four area teams playing mainly at a municipal level while fighting against city rivals Bentegodi to become the city's premier football outfit. By the 1907–1908 season, Hellas was playing against regional teams and an intense rivalry with Vicenza Calcio that lasts to this day was born.

From 1898 to 1926 Italian football was organised into regional groups. In this period Hellas was one of the founding teams of the early league and often among its top final contenders. In 1911, the city helped Hellas replace the early, gritty football fields with a proper venue. This allowed the team to take part in its first regional tournament, which until 1926, was the qualifying stage for the national title.

In 1919, following a return to activity after a four-year suspension of all football competition in Italy during World War I the team merged with city rival Verona and changed its name to Hellas Verona. Between 1926 and 1929 the elite "Campionato Nazionale" assimilated the top sides from the various regional groups and Hellas Verona joined the privileged teams, yet struggled to remain competitive.

Serie A, as it is structured today, began in 1929, when the Campionato Nazionale turned into a professional league. Still an amateur team, Hellas merged with two city rivals, Bentegodi and Scaligera, to form AC Verona. Hoping to build a first class contender for future years the new team debuted in Serie B in 1929. It would take the gialloblu 28 years to finally achieve their goal. After first being promoted to Serie A for one season in 1957–58, in 1959 the team merged with another city rival (called Hellas) and commemorated its beginnings by changing its name to Hellas Verona AC.

Success in the 1970s and 1980s

Coached by Nils Liedholm, the team returned to Serie A in 1968 and remained in the elite league almost without interruption until 1990. Along the way it scored a famous 5–3 win in the 1972–1973 season that cost AC Milan the scudetto (the Serie A title). The fact that the result came late during the last matchday of the season makes the sudden and unexpected end to the rossoneri's title ambitions all the more memorable.

In 1973–1974 Hellas finished the season in 4th last place thus avoiding relegation, but were sent down to Serie B during the summer months as a result of a scandal involving team president Saverio Garonzi. After a year in Serie B Hellas Verona returned to Serie A.

In the 1975–1976 season the team had a successful run in the Coppa Italia, eliminating highly rated teams such as Torino, Cagliari, and Inter from the tournament. However, in their first ever final in the competition Hellas Verona were trounced 4–0 by Napoli.

Under the leadership of coach Osvaldo Bagnoli, in 1982–1983 the team secured 4th place in Serie A (its highest finish at the time) and even lead the Serie A standings for a few weeks. The same season Hellas again reached the Coppa Italia final. After a 2–0 home victory, Hellas Verona travelled to Turin to play Juventus but were defeated 3–0 after extra time.

Further disappointment followed in the 1983–1984 season when the team again reached the Coppa Italia final, only to lose the Cup in the final minutes of the return match against defending Serie A champions Roma.

1984–1985 Scudetto

Although the 1984–1985 squad was made up of a healthy mix of emerging players and mature stars, at the beginning of the season no one would have regarded the team as having the necessary ingredients to make it to the end. Certainly the additions of Hans-Peter Briegel in midfield and of Danish striker Preben Elkjær to an attack that already featured the wing play of Pietro Fanna, the creative abilities of Antonio Di Gennaro and the scoring touch of Giuseppe Galderisi were to prove crucial.

To mention a few of the memorable milestones on the road to the scudetto: a decisive win against Juventus (2–0), with a goal scored by Elkjær after having lost a boot in a tackle just outside the box, set the stage early in the championship; an away win over Udinese (5–3) ended any speculation that the team was losing energy at the midway point; three straight wins (including a hard fought 1–0 victory against a strong AS Roma side) served notice that the team had kept its polish and focus intact during their rival's final surge; and a 1–1 draw in Bergamo against Atalanta secured the title with a game in hand.

Hellas Verona finished the year with a 15–13–2 record and 43 points, 4 points ahead of Torino with Inter and Sampdoria rounding out the top four spots. This unusual final table of the Serie A (with the most successful Italian teams of the time, Juventus and AS Roma, ending up much lower than expected) has led to many speculations. The 1984/1985 season was the only season when referees were assigned to matches by way of a random draw. Before then each referee had always been assigned to a specific match by a special commission of referees (designatori arbitrali). After the betting scandal of the early 1980 (the Calcio Scommesse scandal) it was decided to clean up the image of Italian football by assigning referees randomly instead of picking them, in order to clear up all the suspicions and accusations always accompanying Italy's football life. This resulted in a quieter championship and in a completely unexpected final table. In the following season, won again by Juventus, the choice of the referees went back in the hands of the designatori arbitrali. In 2006 a major scandal in Italian football revealed that certain clubs had been illegally influencing the referee selection process, in an attempt to ensure that certain referees were assigned to their matches.

1980s European campaigns

The team made its first European appearance in the 1983-84 UEFA Cup and were knocked out in the second round of the tournament by Sturm Graz. Hellas were eliminated from the 1985–86 European Cup in the second round by defending champions and fellow Serie A side Juventus F.C., having beaten PAOK Thessaloniki of Greece in the first round.[3]In 1988 the team had their best international result when they reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals with four victories and three draws. The decisive defeat came from German side Werder Bremen.

Between Serie A and Serie B

These were more than mere modest achievements for a mid-size city with a limited appeal to fans across the nation. But soon enough financial difficulties caught up with team managers. In 1991 the team folded and was reborn as Verona FC, regularly moving to and fro between Serie A and Serie B for several seasons. In 1995 the name was officially changed back to Hellas Verona FC.

After a three-year stay, their last stint in Serie A ended in grief in 2002. That season emerging international talents such as Adrian Mutu, Mauro Camoranesi, Alberto Gilardino, Martin Laursen, Massimo Oddo, Marco Cassetti and coach Alberto Malesani failed to capitalize on an excellent start and eventually dropped into fourth-to-last place for the first time all season on the very last matchday, enforcing relegation into Serie B.

Decline and Serie A comeback (2002–present)

Following the 2002 relegation to Serie B, team fortunes continued to slip throughout the decade. In the 2003–04 season Hellas Verona struggled in Serie B and spent most of the season fighting off an unthinkable relegation to Serie C1. Undeterred, the fans supported their team and a string of late season wins eventually warded off the danger. Over 5000 of them followed Hellas to Como on the final day of the season to celebrate.

In 2004–05 things looked much brighter for the team. After a rocky start Hellas put together a string of results and climbed to third spot. The gialloblù held on to the position until January 2005, when transfers weakened the team, yet they managed to take the battle for Serie A to the last day of the season.

The Serie B 2006-07 seemed to start well, due to the club takeover by Pietro Arvedi D'Emilei, which ended nine years of controversial rule by chairman Gianbattista Pastorello, heavily contested by the supporters in his later years at Verona. However, Verona was immediately involved in the relegation battle, and Massimo Ficcadenti was replaced in December 2006 by Giampiero Ventura. Despite a recovery in the results, Verona ended in an 18th place, thus being forced to play a two-legged playoff against 19th-placed Spezia in order to avert relegation. A 2–1 away loss in the first leg at La Spezia was followed by a 0–0 home tie, and Verona were relegated to Serie C1 after 64 years of play in the two highest divisions.

Verona appointed experienced coach Franco Colomba for the new season with the aim to return to Serie B as soon as possible. However, despite being widely considered the division favourite, the gialloblù spent almost the entire season in last place. After seven matches club management sacked Colomba in early October and replaced him with youth team coach (and former Verona player) Davide Pellegrini.[4] A new property acquired the club in late 2007, appointing in December Giovanni Galli as new director of football and Maurizio Sarri as new head coach. Halfway through the 2007–2008 season the team remained at the bottom of Serie C1, on the brink of relegation to the fourth level (Serie C2).In response, club management sacked Sarri and brought back Pellegrini. Thanks to a late-season surge the scaligeri avoided direct relegation by qualifying for the relegation playoff, and narrowly averted dropping to Lega Pro Seconda Divisione in the final game, beating Pro Patria 2–1 on aggregate. However, despite the decline in results, attendance and season ticket sales remained on 15000 average.

For the 2008–09 season Verona appointed former Sassuolo and Piacenza manager Gian Marco Remondina, with the aim to win promotion to Serie B. However the season did not start impressively, with Verona being out of the playoff zone by mid-season, and club chairman Pietro Arvedi D'Emilei entering into a coma after being involved in a car crash on his way back from a league match in December 2008. Arvedi died in March 2009, two months after the club was bought by new chairman Giovanni Martinelli.

The following season looked promising, as new transfer players were brought aboard, and fans enthusiastically embraced the new campaign. Season ticket figures climbed to over 10,000, placing Verona ahead of several Serie A teams and all but Torino in Serie B attendance.[5] The team led the standings for much of the season, accumulating a seven-point lead by early in the spring. However, the advantage was gradually squandered, and the team dropped to second place on the second last day of the season, with a chance to regain first place in the final regular season match against Portogruaro on home soil. But Verona disappointed a crowd of over 25,000 fans[6] and, with the loss, dropped to third place and headed towards the playoffs. A managerial change for the postseason saw the firing of Remondina and the arrival of Giovanni Vavassori. After eliminating Rimini in the semi-finals (1–0; 0–0) Verona lost the final to Pescara (2–2 on home soil and 0–1 in the return match) and were condemned to a fourth straight year of third division.

Former Italia '90 star Giuseppe Giannini (a famous captain of Roma for many years) signed as manager for the 2010–11 campaign. Once again, the team was almost entirely revamped during the transfer season. The squad struggled in the early months and Giannini was eventually sacked and replaced by former Inter Milan defender Andrea Mandorlini, who succeeded in reorganizing the team's play and bringing discipline both on and off the pitch. In the second half of the season Verona climbed back from the bottom of the division to clinch a playoff berth (5th place) on the last day of the regular season. The team advanced to the playoff final after eliminating Sorrento in the semis (3-1 agg). Following the playoff final, after four years of Lega Pro, Hellas Verona were promoted back to Serie B after a 2-1 (agg) win over Salernitana on 19 June 2011.

On May 18, 2013 Hellas Verona finished second in Serie B and was promoted to Serie A after 11 years.[7]

Colours and badge

The team's colours are yellow and blue and gialloblu (literally, "yellow-blue" in Italian) is the team's most widely used nickname. The colours represent the city itself and Verona's emblem (a yellow cross on a blue shield) appears on most team apparel. Two more team nicknames are Mastini (the mastiffs) and Scaligeri, both references to Mastino I della Scala of the Della Scala princes that ruled the city during the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Scala family coat of arms is depicted on the team's jersey and on its trademark logo as a stylized image of two large, powerful mastiffs facing opposite directions. In essence, the term "scaligeri" is synonymous with Veronese, and therefore can describe anything or anyone from Verona (e.g., Chievo Verona, a different team that also links itself to the Scala family – specifically to Cangrande della Scala).


Since 1963, the club have played at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, which has a capacity of 39,211.[8] The ground is shared with Hellas' rivals, Chievo Verona. It was used as a venue for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Derby with Chievo Verona

The intercity fixtures against Chievo Verona are known as the "Derby della Scala". The name refers to the Scaligeri or della Scala aristocratic family, who were rulers of Verona during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. In the season 2001-02, both Hellas Verona and the city rivals of Chievo Verona were playing in the Serie A. The first ever derby of Verona in Serie A took place on 18 November 2001, while both teams were ranked among the top four. The match was won by Hellas, 3–2. Chievo got revenge in the return match in spring 2002, winning 2–1. The city of Verona became so the 5th city in Italy, after Milan, Rome, Turin and Genoa to host a derby in Serie A.[9]


Hellas Verona vs Chievo Verona Chievo Verona vs Hellas Verona
1994-95 Serie B 10.12.1994 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
1 – 1
07.05.1995 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
3 – 1
1995-96 Serie B 28.04.1996 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
1 – 0
25.11.1996 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
1 – 2
1996-97 Serie B 11.10.1996 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
4 – 0
14.03.1997 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
2 – 0
1998-99 Serie B 19.12.1998 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
0 – 0
16.05.1999 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
2 – 0
2001-02 Serie A 18.11.2001 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
3 – 2
38,356 24.03.2002 Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
2 – 1


Serie A / Italian Football Championship:[10]

Serie B:[11]

Coppa Italia:[12]

  • Runners Up (3): 1976, 1983, 1984

Current squad

As of 2 September 2013.[13]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Brazil GK Rafael
2 Brazil MF Rômulo (on loan from Fiorentina)
3 Italy DF Michelangelo Albertazzi
4 Italy MF Simon Laner
5 Italy MF Massimo Donati
6 Brazil MF Raphael Martinho
7 Italy FW Samuele Longo (on loan from Inter)
8 Italy FW Daniele Cacia
9 Italy FW Luca Toni
10 Iceland MF Emil Hallfreðsson
11 Serbia MF Boško Janković
12 Brazil GK Nícolas
13 Italy DF Matteo Bianchetti
14 Argentina MF Ezequiel Cirigliano (on loan from Argentina River Plate)
No. Position Player
15 Argentina FW Juan Iturbe (on loan from Portugal Porto)
16 Italy DF Matteo Rubin (on loan from Siena)
18 Greece DF Vangelis Moras
19 Italy MF Jorginho
21 Argentina FW Juanito Gomez
22 Italy DF Domenico Maietta (captain)
23 Uruguay DF Alejandro González
25 Brazil DF Rafael Marques
26 Italy MF Jacopo Sala
29 Italy DF Fabrizio Cacciatore
30 Italy MF Marco Donadel (on loan from Napoli)
31 Bulgaria GK Nikolay Mihaylov
32 Italy FW Daniele Ragatzu
33 Italy DF Alessandro Agostini

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
27 Italy MF Paolo Grossi (at Brescia)
80 Italy FW Alessandro Sgrigna (at Carpi)
Italy DF Simone Ceccarelli (at Paganese)
Italy DF Filippo De Col (at Virtus Lanciano)
France DF Tony Huston (at Pro Vercelli)
Albania DF Lapis Kiakis (at Carpi)
Italy DF Francesco Zampano (at Juve Stabia)
Paraguay MF Óscar Arzamendia (at Bellaria)
Italy MF Simone Calvano (at Virtus Lanciano)
No. Position Player
Italy MF Alessandro Carrozza (at Spezia)
Italy MF Pasquale De Vita (at Pavia)
Italy MF Gennaro Esposito (at Salernitana)
Slovenia MF Dino Martinovič (at Paganese)
Italy MF Mattia Spezzani (at Pro Vercelli)
Italy FW Andrea Cocco (at Reggina)
Italy FW Nicola Ferrari (at Spezia)
Slovenia FW Kris Jogan (at Nocerina)
Italy FW David Speziale (at Pavia)

Youth team

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
17 Ghana DF Godfred Donsah
98 Italy GK Daniele Borra (on loan from Virtus Entella)



Kit Sponsors

  • 1980-1987:Adidas
  • 1987-1989:Hummel
  • 1989-1991:Adidas
  • 1991-1995:Uhlsport
  • 1995-2000:Errea
  • 2000-2003:Lotto
  • 2003-2006:Legea
  • 2006-2013:Asics
  • 2013-present:Nike

Official Sponsors

  • 1982-1986:Canon
  • 1986-1989:Ricoh
  • 1989-1996:Rana
  • 1996-1997:Ferroli
  • 1997-1998:ZG Camini Inox
  • 1998-1999:Atreyu
  • 1999-2000:Salumi Marsilli
  • 2000-2001:Net Business
  • 2001-2002:Amica Chips
  • 2002-2006:Clerman
  • 2006-2007:Unika
  • 2007-2008:No Sponsor
  • 2008-2010:Giallo
  • 2010-2011:Banca Di Verona;Protec/Sicurint Group;Consorzio Asimov
  • 2011-2012:AGSM;Protec/Sicurint Group;Leaderform
  • 2012-2013:AGSM/Leaderform


Further reading

External links

  • Official website (Italian)

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