Fabio Quagliarella, better known as the player who outscored Cristiano Ronaldo and all of Serie A at the age of 36, has been nominated for the 2019 Puskas Award courtesy of his outrageous back heel volley against Napoli back in September 2018.
It might feel odd to see his name alongside Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but when it comes to mind-blowing goals, the Italy international has a catalogue full of them.
Here are seven of the Sampdoria and Italy striker’s best ever goals.
Chievo vs Sampdoria – Serie A 2006/07
2006/07 will forever be a season to remember for Quagliarella. He’s 23 and has just completed his transfer from Ascoli to Sampdoria. The Blucerchiati bought him as a super sub, but then a very unfortunate event – depending on your point of view – occured.
Francesco Flachi, club legend and starting Sampdoria striker, received a season long ban for doping, which opened the door for Quagliarella to show the world is potential.
Only a few games later, he scores this absolutely beauty from just over the halfway line away at Chievo Verona.
Slovakia vs Italy – World Cup 2010
World Cup 2010 will definitely not be remembered as Italy’s best tournament. It was still a better showing than Russia 2018, when the Azzurri didn’t even qualify, but after winning the previous edition in 2006 the expectations were a bit higher than getting eliminated in the group stage by Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.
Coach Marcello Lippi makes his comeback after leaving straight after the trophy lift in Berlin, and decides to make use of a 27-year-old Quagliarella at the peak of his career. Even though he wasn’t starting, the Neapolitan still found a way to be remembered.
It’s the 92nd minute and Italy are 3-1 down. Fabio comes in for a worn out Gennaro Gattuso, he controls a deflected ball and finishes with a lovely chip from outside the box. The defending world champions end up losing the game 3-2, but this goal will forever be remembered as one of Italy’s best goals at a World Cup.
Napoli vs Torino – Serie A 2014/15
It’s hard not to celebrate a goal of this calibre. But that’s the case for Fabio Quagliarella, wearing the granata shirt but never failing to show respect to his former fans and fellow citizens at Napoli.
It’s a cold January in the shadow of the Vesuvius, but Fabio doesn’t need long to warm things up. It’s only the 14th minute when he receives a cross from the halfway line. Then, he pulls out an incredible first touch with his chest and volleys to beat Rafael Cabral. Definitely a memory that the keeper brought with him to Reading.
Udinese vs Juventus – Serie A 2010/11
While he’s been nominated for the Puskas Award for last season’s back heel volley goal against Napoli, that goal certainly wasn’t his first back heel effort.
It’s 2010/11, Fabio’s first season at Juventus, and the Italian champions are playing away at Udinese. Milos Krasic collects the ball from the right hand side and offers a sweet low cross in the middle. Quagliarella runs between two defenders and finishes with a stunning back heel as he lets himself fall on the ground.
Pescara vs Juventus – Serie A 2012/13
Another signature skill of Quagliarella’s is the bicycle kick. I could write a separate article focusing only on his bicycle kick goals, but for this one, only one made the cut.
We’re back in his Juventus years, it being 2012 this time. Andrea Pirlo takes the corner and the trajectory is perfect for the Italian striker to coordinate and score this beauty into the top corner.
Juventus vs Inter – Serie A 2012/13
The same season, only a few months later, and it’s San Siro’s turn to be the theatre for Fabio’s magic.
In a title-deciding match in a season that would see Antonio Conte’s boys lift the trophy, Fabio takes just three minutes into the first half to control the ball and smack an absolute rocket from outside the box, giving Handanovic no time to attempt a dive.
Sampdoria vs Napoli – Serie A 2018/19
And here it is. Last but not least: the Puskas Award contender. A thing of absolute beauty. The victim is, once again, his beloved Napoli.
It’s only the second game of the season, the first one in front of the home supporters for Sampdoria. The score is an unpredictable 2-0 for the home side and with only 15 minutes to go, Fabio decides to end his former club hopes of a last minute comeback with a jaw-dropping back heel volley goal.
It gets better every time you watch it.