Even though Gianmarco Pozzecco wasn't able to take over Panathinaikos for family reasons, the Italian coach confirmed talks between the two sides and left the door open for a future collaboration.

Credit: Vangelis Stolis;dpa/picture-alliance
Credit Vangelis Stolis;dpa/picture-alliance

Panathinaikos Athens made two offers to the current Italian NT head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco to replace Dejan Radonjic on the Greek club's bench, as first reported by Livesport newspaper.

Following the rumors surrounding the coach, the Italian Basketball Federation president Gianni Petrucci spoke to the newspaper La Stampa and made clear that he wasn't going to block him from accepting the offer, despite an exclusive deal with the Italian federation, which runs through 2024.

Panathinaikos reportedly offered a lucrative contract of over half a million euros per season.

Pozzecco established his name at FIBA EuroBasket 2022 when he navigated Italy to the tournament's quarterfinals, beating a competition favorite Serbia in the Round of 16. In his heyday as a starting point guard in Italy, he had been coveted by the Greens, who had Zeljko Obradovic on their bench. 

More than 20 years on, Panathinaikos have ceased to be a contender for the EuroLeague trophy, and Pozzecco has ceased to be a basketball player. Still, the two sides came really close to striking a deal a few weeks ago, even though Dejan Radonjic was still sitting on the Greek team's bench. 

Pozzecco laid out the background of his talks with Panathinaikos and its owner, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, talking to NOVASPORTS' Dora Panteli from Milan. The reason for his visit to the fashion capital, as he admitted, was to meet Olympiacos' coach, Giorgos Bartzokas. 

"I have big respect for him. He's one of the best coaches in Europe," Pozzecco argued.

"When he was in Lokomotiv Kuban (2015-16), they were playing the best basketball in Europe by far. I want to congratulate him on his team playing amazing basketball."

Points this season

Points made: 79,5
Accuracy: 43,8%
Place in standings: 12
Record max: 98
Record min: 64
Best scorer: Dwayne Bacon

The 48-year-old tactician said he's proud that PAO contacted him and remembered his time as a player when he constantly played against them.  

"Panathinaikos is one of the best teams in Europe. When I was a player, Zeljko [Obradovic] was over there. They beat us [Fortitudo Bologna] many times. So, I got big respect for that club," Pozzecco initially said before going into detail. 

"I have to tell the truth. Mr. Giannakopoulos called me, and we had an amazing 30 minutes on the phone," he confirmed.

"But it was something in the way. I had become a father some days ago," he went on to say.

Pozzecco noted that he respects Dejan Radonjic for "doing a great job everywhere he went" and admitted that the prospect of coaching a team with a big following seems enticing.

"Every basketball coach has his own style. For me, it's important to be passionate. It has helped me and followed me [throughout my career]. Coaching a team with a big crowd would be amazing," Pozzecco argued while leaving the door open to PAO.

"You never know what happens in life, maybe in the future, we can work together. I want to say 'thank you' to Mr. Giannakopoulos for spending those amazing 30 minutes on the phone. He sent me a message for my baby, which I didn't receive," the Italian coach concluded. 

We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

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