Anytime Fiorentina are about to face Sampdoria in recent years, there is always that fear of the Ex. Fabio Quagliarella is one of those players that really enjoy scoring against us. Not for Fabio the quiet acknowledgement of a goal against a former team, refusing to celebrate. He seems to take pleasure in it, probably due to the fact that he never really made an impact during his time in Florence, failing to find his way into the fans hearts. Of course, he could always say it’s not really a goal against an old club of his, as he actually played with Florentia Viola. A small detail, which nobody who’s a Fiorentina fan takes any notice of.
Fabio arrived in Florence back in 2002, as a 19 year old, on loan from Torino, a team where he started as a youth player. Florentia Viola of course had the bomber Cristian Riganò banging in the goals that season in Serie C2, and Quagliarella struggled, scoring just 1 goal in his 12 apperances. He only played a full 90 minute game on three occasions, one of those away to Gualdo where he scored his first and only goal with the Viola. His adventure with the Viola only lasted half a season, his final appearance away to Sassuolo. Riganò, no surprise, getting the only goal of that game before Fabio was again replaced in the second half. Alberto Cavasin had replaced Pietro Vierchowod as manager at this stage, after a poor spell for the team. They had lost at home to promotion rivals Rimini followed by a draw at home with Poggibonsi, before the 2-0 defeat at Grosseto convinced the Della Valle that an early change was needed. Fabio had appeared in 8 out of the 9 games that Vierchowod lasted on the bench, but the new man in charge wasn’t convinced. Cavasin only playing him in 4 out of 8 games, and 3 of those were as late substitutions, meaning he only started one game under the new boss, which was to be his last for the team.
In the winter transfer window, Quagliarella was sent back to Torino, with Fiorentina fans having no idea that they had been witness to one of the future stars of Serie A. Fabio himself probably wasn’t too convinced, Torino sending him out on loan again, this time to Serie C1 side Chieti. The following season however was a big improvement, he scored 17 times for his new temporary team, which was enough to convince Torino to bring him back, the Granata playing in Serie B at the time.
Of course, since then his career has gone from strength to strength, as he only seems to improve with age. At the age of 36 he was the highest scorer in Serie A in the 2018/19 season, scoring 5 more goals than a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. Now 37 he is still finding the net, grabbing the first goal in last weekends game, before Samp lost out at home to Benevento. It was with Sampdoria that Fabio scored his first ever goal against Fiorentina, in his first spell with the blucerchiati way back in 2007. He probably doesn’t have very fond memories of that game, despite his goal, which pulled it back to 2-1 before half time. Fiorentina ran away with the game after the break, the final score a 5-1 thumping. He has had his revenge since then, especially when two years ago he scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win for Sampdoria.
Fabio does of course have another link with Florence. He wears the number 27 in honour of his former youth international team mate and friend, Niccolò Galli. Niccolò, son of former Fiorentina goalkeeper Giovanni, died in a tragic car accident at the age of 17. He was a native of Florence and had also played with the Fiorentina youth team.
Fiorentina fans will be praying that Fabio doesn’t find the net at all, as whenever he has scored against us his team has only lost once (that 5-1 thrashing). Overall his record against the Viola is 11 goals in 21 games, so along with Atalanta and Chievo we are his favourite opponents.
There is one curiosity about that game where Fabio scored his hat-trick, which we hope is not a bad omen for this time around. In the game previous to that win, Sampdoria had lost 3-2 with Benevento, just as they did last weekend!