If anybody knows what Fabio Quagliarella is capable of, it’s Antonio Conte. After all, the striker worked under the Coach for the three seasons at Juventus. Each ended in Scudetto joy.
Football can throw up paradoxical situations at times. And it’s Quagliarella finding limited space at the back end of his Juve stint that opened the door for his recall to the Italy squad, by Conte, for the first time since November 2010.
Squeezed out during the 2013-14 campaign after the summer arrivals of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, the much-travelled scorer of great goals wasn’t keen on a move from a city in which he felt comfortable. Enter Torino.
Quagliarella had actually worn the famous Granata in two stints earlier in his career. And third time was definitely the charm. Not that his time in the Black and White half of the city was negative – Quagliarella netted crucial and spectacular goals and was substituted to a chorus of applause upon his return to Juventus Stadium – but at Torino he has found the space needed to rediscover his best.
“[Torino Coach Giampiero] Ventura is giving me a chance to shine at Torino and prove myself for the Azzurri,” he stated on Tuesday at Coverciano, the national team base.
When Quagliarella last walked those hallowed halls he had started life at Juventus in brilliant fashion. Months earlier, the Naples native provided Italy’s only highlight of a disastrous 2010 World Cup with a superb chipped goal in the loss to Slovakia. Quagliarella scored in a friendly with Romania, his seventh goal in 25 appearances. A knee injury in January 2011 scuppered a fine season and long-term international ambitions.
It’s a deserved recall for the striker, who netted 13 Serie A goals upon his Torino return, plus four in Europe. That rich vein of scoring form has spilled into the current campaign – four goals in seven League outings. “It’s an honour, I’m enthusiastic,” Quagliarella said of his return.
Although it perhaps says something of the stocks available that Conte ended his time in the international wilderness. The 32-year-old does not offer the long-term outlook Italy need, but with two major ‘what if’s’ – Mario Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi – there are spots available. He joins the squad to face Azerbaijan and Norway as the experienced head in attack.
Quagliarella has done well to grasp his chance, a recurring theme in recent years for the player.