Walter Sabatini

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Walter Sabatini
Personal information
Date of birth (1955-05-02) May 2, 1955 (age 61)
Place of birth Marsciano, Italy
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Roma (director of football)
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1975 Perugia 28 (1)
1975–1976 Varese 10 (0)
1976–1977 Roma 10 (0)
1977–1978 Perugia 1 (0)
1978–1979 Palermo 0 (0)
1979–1980 Vicenza 10 (1)
1980–1981 Siracusa 23 (2)
1981–1982 Venezia 26 (2)
1982–1983 Parma 16 (2)
1983–1984 Pro Patria 29 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Walter Sabatini (born May 2, 1955) is an Italian former football player turned director of football.

Playing career[edit]

Sabatini made his professional debut with Perugia in 1973, playing at Serie B level with the Umbrian club. After a short stint at Varese, he was acquired by Roma in 1976, where he had the chance to make his Serie A debut. He successively returned at Perugia, where he was prevented from playing because of a muscular injury that did not allow him to play any games for two years, including a season with no appearances at Palermo. Since then, after two years of inactivity, Sabatini found himself out of the limelight, and spent the following years playing in the lower ranks of Italian professional football before retiring in 1984.

Coaching and non-playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

In 1986, he returned to Perugia, this time as assistant coach in the youth system, and then being promoted youth sector chief in 1990, as well as first team assistant to head coach Paolo Ammoniaci.

In 1992, he went on to join Lazio, where he served as youth sector chief together with Giuseppe Dossena and Roberto Ottaviani. In 1994, he was appointed director of football of Triestina. In 1998, he left Triestina to become director of football at third division side Arezzo, with Serse Cosmi as head coach. Both men left Arezzo in 2000 to join Perugia.

Director of football at Lazio[edit]

In 2004, Sabatini left Perugia to become director of football of Lazio. He worked for four years at Lazio, and was instrumental in signing players such as Aleksandar Kolarov, Valon Behrami, Fernando Muslera, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Modibo Diakité, Ștefan Radu, Libor Kozák and Luis Pedro Cavanda.

Director of football at Palermo[edit]

In 2008, after his contract with Lazio expired, Sabatini went on to fill the same position at Palermo, penning a two-year contract with the rosanero club. He agreed a one-year extension to his contract on May 2010.[1]

His most notable signings included Afriyie Acquah (who was signed as a totally unknown player at the age of 17), Abel Hernández, Josip Iličić (who was discovered during a UEFA Europa League qualifying game against Slovenian side Maribor), Michel Morganella, Javier Pastore, Matteo Darmian and Ezequiel Muñoz.

On 2 November 2010, Palermo confirmed Sabatini had resigned from his role as director of football of Palermo due to "strictly personal reasons."[2]

Director of football at Roma[edit]

In the summer of 2011, Sabatini was hired by James Pallotta to replace Daniele Prade as Roma's sporting director. Over the course of three years, he rebuilt Roma and orchestrated the near-complete removal of all of the side's below-average players that carried high wages, previously brought in from the Franco Sensi era. He has also succeeding in signing Érik Lamela and Marquinhos, as well as their sales to Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain respectively for a significant profit in 2013. He then utilized the funds to purchase players Kevin Strootman, Gervinho, Morgan De Sanctis, Radja Nainggolan and Mehdi Benatia. One year later, all five signings played solid seasons for the club, though Benatia was later sold to Bayern Munich for €26 million, double the amount he was initially purchased for from Udinese.

With the funds, Sabatini managed to purchase three additional centerbacks in the summer of 2014, and was able to snatch Juventus's main target in the transfer window, Juan Iturbe, from Verona. For his efforts the season prior, Sabatini was awarded the best director of football award for the 2013–14 Serie A season. He was hitherto normally known for signing short term deals, but for the first time he agreed upon a three-year extension with Roma in 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Sabatini's brother Carlo Sabatini is also involved in football, having last served as head coach of Serie B club Padova, which he led to win the Lega Pro Prima Divisione playoffs during the 2008–09 season.


  1. ^ "CONTRATTO RINNOVATO PER IL DIRETTORE SPORTIVO WALTER SABATINI" (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  2. ^ "COMUNICATO U.S. CITTA' DI PALERMO: DIMISSIONI DEL DIRETTORE SPORTIVO SABATINI" (in Italian). US Città di Palermo. 2 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.