Serie C to conquerers of Europe: when star-studded Parma lived the dream | Nicky Bandini

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Before being struck by scandal, this once lowly club enjoyed an electrifying rise – and it all began with the vision of one man

Everybody remembers how it ended. From 1990 to 2004, Parma competed as one of Italy’s foremost teams, qualifying for Europe in 14 consecutive seasons and winning four pieces of continental silverware. Then their parent company and chief sponsor, Parmalat, collapsed amid one of the most staggering financial fraud scandals the world has ever known.

Parma avoided instant oblivion. Technically the club did fold, but a subtly renamed version sprung up in its place, taking over the contracts, debts and – crucially – Serie A status of its predecessor.

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