At Trigoria, people say that Frederic Massara speaks little, works a lot and listens even more. That’s why, in the last few years, he seems to have been the only person who has been able to accommodate seemingly incompatible personalities like Sabatini, Pallotta and Gervinho. Actually, the Ivorian has been one of Massara’s best-kept secrets at Roma: not because he chose him, but because he spoke to him and, most of all, he was able to make him see reason, limiting those excesses that so infuriated Sabatini and his team-mates.
Massara, a ‘Savoyard’ to describe him in terms of his ancestry, was born in Turin in 1968, but there was little revolutionary about his education: his mother, who died in April, worked in the Louvre and was a very well thought of employee; he grew up speaking a bit of Italian and a bit of French (and in later years, he added English, Spanish and a bit of German) and, as Sabatini himself recounted, he distinguished himself through his education and his patience. Humility should be added to that, a quality which everyone at Trigoria recognises in him, as well as the ability to take risks, given that when Garcia arrived in Rome in 2013, his signature was on the documents as well.
All the necessary preconditions are there for him to do an excellent job, but now Massara – who hates the spotligt – will have to leave the wings and go out onto the stage. No longer small fry, but the shark, as a sporting director of a club that doesn’t have unlimited resources needs to be. After a life spent in football (and spent with Susanna, his wife, who like him is from Turin), the time seems right: he started off in the Granata youth teams, and played in Serie A in 1992/93 with Pescara, though he never really made it big. He tried a career as a coach, before qualifying as a sporting director (finishing with marks of 110/110) and joining Sabatini at Roma in 2011 after their experience at Palermo.
The former sporting director chose him because of his ability to be pragmatic, without ever letting himself get carried away by fantasy, but most of all wanted him beside him because Massara is incredibly knowledgable about football and loves watching his team at all times. In the last few years he has also occupied himself with the Primavera, but now a more demanding challenge awaits him. Woe betide anyone who exaggerates about him though, given that in a – very rare – interview, Massara once said, “No one should talk about suffering in football, certain terms should be left for more serious things.”
This article is a translation – the original was written by Chiara Zucchelli for La Gazzetta dello Sport.