Italian side Parma Calcio have made an eagerly anticipated return to the Serie A thanks to a 2-0 win away to Spezia, ensuring their place in the top flight just three years after the club were demoted to the Serie D.
Parma are one of the most recognisable football teams in Italy, but the Crusaders were forced to declare bankruptcy at the end of the 2014/15 and they were sent down the footballing ladder as a result.
Since then Parma have been battling each year to return to the top flight, with their return to Serie A being confirmed on goal difference - edging ahead of Frosinone, who were held to a 2-2 draw on Friday.
And just one member of their team from the 2014/15 campaign, Alessandro Lucarelli, remains at the club. The 40-year-old spoke to Sky Sport Italia following their win over Spezia on Friday, claiming that he was overwhelmed at being able to keep his promise of returning Parma to the Serie A.
"I made a promise. I said I’d take Parma back to Serie A. I kept my promise," a teary-eyed Lucarelli said after the match, quoted by Football Italia. "It can’t be real, it’s impossible. Nobody could’ve imagined a finale like this, not even in my wildest dreams.
Alessandro Lucarelli.— Santi Bauzá (@sbauza99) May 18, 2018
2008: Joins Parma
2009: Promoted to Serie A
2013: Made club captain
2014: 6th, can't compete in EL
2015: Demoted to Serie D, only one to stay
2016: Promoted to Serie C
2017: Promoted to Serie B
2018: Most Parma league appearances
2018: Promoted to Serie A pic.twitter.com/meDtOxcF3j
"The others were celebrating, then we heard a huge cheer from the stands. I don’t know what happened.
"This is a journey we started three years ago in front of these amazing fans. We had difficult moments, we always got back on our feet. They never gave up and I am proud to have been their captain."
It is expected that Lucarelli will hang his boots up this summer and take up a position within the club's coaching staff. Parma will be joined in the Serie A next season by league champions Empoli, while Frosinone, Palermo, Venezia and Bari will go into the promotion playoffs.