WITH A DEGREE FROM BOCCONI IN ECONOMICS, SPECIALIZED IN MARKETING, SHE HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL AND RESPECTED FOOTBALL PLAYERS AGENT, MANAGING CAREERS AND INTERESTS OF PLAYERS FROM ROBERTO BAGGIO TO DAVID TREZEGUET, DECONSTRUCTING STEREOTYPES IN A WORLD SEEN AS MALE TERRITORY
Blonde and elegant, the vocabulary of a perfect manager, Patrizia Pighini, 42 years old, deconstructs the old stereotype that wants football players agents as picturesque characters. In her lengthy career, in fact, she has managed stars of the calibre of Roberto Baggio, Salvatore Schillaci, David Trezeguet, amongst others.
Patrizia, who during her time at university enjoyed a career as a model which took her around the world, today manages together with Antonio Caliendo a company, based in Montecarlo, which manages the earnings of numerous football players, one of the few ladies in the world to a work in profession always viewed as male territory.
"I have to confess that at the time of choosing which university to apply to," she says honestly, "Bocconi was not at the top of my thoughts, not being particularly attracted to economics, but now I recognize that my family, which pushed me in this direction, was right." Then, terminated her studies, the meeting which changed her life.
"I met Caliendo, the man who practically invented this profession," she continues, "straight after graduating and I accepted his offer of work. First of all humble tasks, the classic apprenticeship which seemed a little humbling for somebody with a degree in her pocket from a famous university, but then through listening and learning I matured my profession."
In 1994 Patrizia Pighini passed the exam of the FIGC, the Italian Footbal Federation and became a players agent, and in 1996 also obtained an agent licence from FIFA, at a time when the various federations decided to professionalize a role until then little regulated. "Since then important steps have been taken in recognizing this profession," says Patrizia, "even if still today certain football players prefer to have their interests run by friends or family rather than a prepared professional."
|Pighini and Nedved
In truth, with the exponential growth in the economics of football and players earnings, being flanked by an able agent has become almost indispensable: "Today few athletes decide to go without. A good agent is able to follow his clients in every aspect. From the drawing up of a contract to the management of sponsorships, from advice on investments to even, sometimes, resolving private matters."
A series of tasks which require specific expertise, learnt at university. "With regards to my study path at Bocconi, the teachings of marketing have proved particularly useful, especially regarding advertising contracts and image rights, which today represent a consistent slice of players earnings."
In the meantime, however, Patrizia Pighini has modified certain aspects of her work, remaining more often in the company headquarters respect to when, a few years ago, she would spend more time around the world than in her office. "Now I deal with the organization of an event, the Golden Foot, which is an international prize in recognition of the career of players over 29 years of age with a marked personality as well as technical qualities. In time we would like to substitute the Golden Ball award." With regards to football players, Patrizia Pighini closely follows certain youngsters, the most talented of which is Ederson, a 20 year old Brazilian who plays for Nice, "somebody destined for great things," she says.
But that is not all. Patrizia's business partner, Caliendo, has also become chairman, as well as shareholder, of the holding company which owns London-based Queen's Park Rangers, one of the oldest British football clubs. "There is a big effort to financially restructure the club and bring it back to its former glory, even if the arrival of the 'Italians' in London is not particularly looked upon with favour."