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Wednesday June 24 2020
Only in Serie A: Genoa-Samp Spygate

Not only did a Genoa coach spy on a training session to gain an advantage on arch-rivals Sampdoria, but he did so with his best Rambo impression...

Words: Livio Caferoglu

Former Lazio boss Marcelo Bielsa gained notoriety last season when it emerged he had sent a staff member to spy on Derby County before Leeds United’s 2-0 victory over the Rams. Unlike Genoa youth-team goalkeeping coach Luca De Prà back in September 2013, however, they didn’t dress in camouflage gear, hiding in the bushes surrounding their arch-rivals’ training ground. Neither did they do so without notifying their employers.

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Tuesday June 9 2020
Only in Serie A: Mourinho's handcuffs

Jose Mourinho may be renowned for his turn of phrase, but a particular gesture at Inter arguably spoke louder than any soundbite...

Words: Livio Caferoglu

Inter’s 2009-10 campaign will go down as the greatest in the club’s history, but it wasn’t without controversy. Indeed, there was a point in the season when Jose Mourinho threatened to derail it with his crusade against referees. Throughout his career, the Tottenham Hotspur boss has regularly adopted a siege mentality as a way to fire up his troops in battle. Nowhere more so was that evident than on the blue side of San Siro, where he dared to pick a fight with the FIGC.

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Sunday June 7 2020
Only in Serie A: The winner nobody wanted

When substitute Tuta scored the winner for Venezia against Bari in January 1999, he was perplexed to find both sets of players furious with him.

Words: Martin Mork

Brazilian forward Moacir Bastos Tuta, fresh even for the Venezia faithful, emerged from the scrum to make a name for himself in the mistiest of penalty areas at the Stadio Pierluigi Penzo. He nodded a free-kick home in the dying seconds and came out of the scrimmage thumping his chest whilst he ran to celebrate the 2-1 win with the home fans – on his own.

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Tuesday June 2 2020
Only in Serie A: Legend of Luther Blissett

From being an alleged victim of mistaken identity to his name becoming a pseudonym for a global anarchist movement, Luther Blissett’s spell at Milan was truly bizarre...

Words: Livio Caferoglu

Image: Talksport

Other than the late, great John Charles, British strikers have largely been the object of ridicule in Serie A. Ian Rush scored just seven league goals for Juventus and, for a while, it was believed he said playing in Italy was like ‘living in a foreign country’. Then there is the case of Luther Blissett, a relic of the pre-Silvio Berlusconi era at Milan, who complained about not being able to buy Rice Krispies on the peninsula and became a literal cult hero.

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Wednesday May 27 2020
Only in Serie A: Passaportopoli

When limits on non-EU players were introduced, South American stars got a little creative with family trees, leading to a scandal that put Alvaro Recoba, Juan Sebastian Veron, Dida and others in the dock…

Words: Martin Mork

Several years before Calciopoli, there was Passaportopoli – the scandal that saw South American players trying to get around new limitations on non-EU players by finding long-lost Italian, Spanish or Portuguese ancestors that would guarantee them a passport. If they couldn’t locate a sufficiently European bloodline, that extra branch of the family tree could always be sketched in…

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Saturday May 23 2020
Only in Serie A: Pioli's 90 days at Palermo

Maurizio Zamparini was legendary for going through coaches like candy, but he out-did himself when firing Stefano Pioli before the 2011-12 season even started...

Words: Livio Caferoglu

Stefano Pioli is surely the most under-appreciated coach working in Serie A. His longest tenure came at Bologna between 2011 and 2014, keeping the Rossoblu up in his two seasons. Since then, he led Lazio to the Champions League playoffs in 2015, stabilised Inter after the Frank de Boer debacle and saw Fiorentina through the death of their captain. He is having a similar effect on Milan, despite his position being publicly undermined. Palermo, however, didn’t even give him three games.

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Wednesday May 20 2020
Only in Serie A: Cassano loses it

Even teammates were shocked when Antonio Cassano pulled off his Sampdoria shirt, threw it at referee Nicola Pierpaoli and then threatened to ‘meet him outside’...

Words: Martin Mork

Antonio Cassano scored the equaliser against Torino in the 52nd minute with a neat finish and celebrated in eccentric fashion, kicking away the corner flag in joy. Referee Nicola Pierpaoli had no other option, he gave the Sampdoria forward his seventh yellow card of the season.

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Tuesday May 12 2020
Only in Serie A: Mihajlovic's hat-trick

Just two Serie A players have ever scored a hat-trick of free kicks and they were both for Lazio, as Sinisa Mihajlovic followed in Beppe Signori’s footsteps.

Words: Martin Mork

“When I was little, I didn’t like to play football, only kicking the ball. Every day I would travel two kilometres by foot to arrive at a pitch with a big goal, but with no net,” Sinisa Mihajlovic told Il Giornale. “I’d kick it, have to run back to get the ball and start all over again. After that, I practiced on the garage door and put so many dents in it.”

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Wednesday May 6 2020
Only in Serie A: Maresca the Matador

Enzo Maresca literally grabbed the bull by the horns when he celebrated a late Juventus equaliser against Torino, in a heated Derby della Mole...

Words: Livio Caferoglu

On paper, Enzo Maresca’s Juventus career was nothing to write home about. Playing just 58 times between 2000 and 2004, he spent just as much of his spell away from Turin. Yet it took just one of those 58 appearances for the midfielder to cement his place in Old Lady folklore with a dramatic equaliser and a legendary goal celebration against Torino back in February 2002.

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Wednesday April 29 2020
Only in Serie A: Hubner the grappa guzzler

Who could forget the colourful career of Dario Hubner, the ageing ‘Bison’ who topped scoring charts in Serie A on a diet of grappa and cigarettes?

Words: Livio Caferoglu

The 2001-02 campaign was a memorable time for Italian strikers. Unlike now, where only three have scored more than 10 times in Serie A, back then there were 15. The one that ran out with the most goals – 24 of them in total – wasn’t a Christian Vieri, Filippo Inzaghi or Alessandro Del Piero, but rather a 35-year-old playing for Piacenza. His name was Dario Hubner.

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