Coppa Italia: Round of 16 / Team rating: [6/10] / Top scorer: Fabio Quagliarella (26) / Europe: N/A
Sampdoria displayed another promising season and Fabio Quagliarella was Capocannoniere, but their future doesn’t look so certain, writes Adrian Carp.
Sampdoria’s season was more of a one-man show, where veteran Fabio Quagliarella was crowned Capocannoniere with 26 goals, five more than €100m signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Blucerchiati finished another emotionless season, securing a comfortable mid-table position, while also boosting Serie A’s fifth most dangerous attack with 60 goals scored - above the likes of Lazio or the Milanese clubs, all of them booking a European spot for next season. There are many positive aspects in Sampdoria’s performance this year, but their planners should immediately prepare for the near future, taking as an example the business models of Atalanta or Sassuolo, or otherwise risk falling down in the league table.
Behind Sampdoria’s positive season is the great work done by Coach Marco Giampaolo. Under his two-year spell, the team embraced a precise identity, displaying an appealing possession football, along with high pressing duties for all of his players. But the tactician is rumoured to resign this summer, due to the club’s unwillingness to spend more in a bid to compete for European football.
In such circumstances, a change of ownership could prove a healthy move, with an American group led by former Blucerchiati hero Gianluca Vialli showing genuine interest.
Regardless of the ownership rumours, the club should immediately start searching for its next leader; partly because aged 36, Quagliarella can’t guarantee that next season he’ll score almost half of their goals again, while it’s also true that after this magnificent season he could well decide to end his career at home with his beloved Napoli.
As things stand, Sampdoria’s best chance to get back to former glories would probably be an ownership change. The mere thought of having Vialli as director should make many fans happy: 28 years ago, it was with Vialli, crowned Capocannoniere with 19 goals, that they managed to lift the only Scudetto in the club’s history.
The Coach: Marco Giampaolo
The 51-year-old tactician has proved once again that he can give a genuine identity to his teams, confirming the advancement of his coaching career. Giampaolo is the mastermind behind Fabio Quagliarella’s personal best season with 26 Serie A goals, while his tactical wisdom has emphasized once again that he is ready for a more ambitious club.
Player of the Year: Fabio Quagliarella
The 36-year-old striker had an excellent season, winning the Capocannoniere title, becoming Italy’s oldest international goalscorer, while also finding the net in 11 consecutive Serie A games, a record set by Gabriel Batistuta 24 years ago. Despite his age, the Blucerchiati captain has featured in a total of 37 matches this season.
Highlight: Lazio 2-2 Sampdoria
A December visit to Lazio last year looked poised to end with a home win after Ciro Immobile scored a penalty in the 95th minute. Sampdoria were already under huge pressure following Bartosz Bereszynski’s second yellow in stoppage time, so chances for a late equalizer seemed impossible. But substitute Riccardo Saponara, with a spectacular acrobatic backheel move, managed to score a goal in the 99th minute, sparking a wild celebration with the Sampdoria ultras.
Nightmare: Dall’Ara disaster
Sampdoria completely ruined their chance of competing for a European spot when they conceded three goals in 30 minutes during the second half of their Bologna game. This culminated in director Walter Sabatini leaving the club after a row with club owner Massimo Ferrero.
Did You Know?
- Riccardo Saponara’s equaliser in the 99th minute became Serie A’s latest goal ever scored.
- Fabio Quagliarella is the third Sampdoria player to be crowned Capocannoniere (after Sergio Brighenti in 1960-1961 and Gianluca Vialli in 1990-1991).
- Quagliarella became the second oldest Serie A top scorer of all time after 38-year-old Luca Toni for Hellas Verona in 2014-15.