x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Quagliarella proves a cavalier soldier at the front for Juventus

The unpredictable Fabio Quagliarella is finding his feet and form with the Serie A leaders.

After moving from one club to another in Serie A, Fabio Quagliarella is finding his feet in Turin.
After moving from one club to another in Serie A, Fabio Quagliarella is finding his feet in Turin.

Antonio Cassano, the mischievous maverick of Italian football, appeared on a television chat show the other day to reveal that three times in his career he had rejected moves to Juventus.

His decisions, he said, had been based on his notion that "Juventus are a club of soldiers, people who only follow a straight path."

Juventus can bear Cassano reinforcing the old cliche that says, of Serie A's three northern giants - the others being Cassano's Inter Milan and his former employers AC Milan - they are the least cavalier, especially when they sit four points above Inter at the top of the table, and when they have scored 10 goals in their last two matches.

The star soldier during the 6-1 victory at Pescara can hardly be described, either, as a man who treads straight, familiar paths.

Fabio Quagliarella's route through Italian football has been anything but direct, while his approach to the game has always been mercurial.

He found himself in the unusual role on Sunday of celebrating the quantity of goals he had scored - a hat-trick against Pescara, to add to one in the 4-0 win over Nordsjaelland a week ago - rather than the sheer quality, although all three were fine strikes, two well-timed low drives and a brilliant scissor kick.

Quagliarella can volley magnificently. His overhead kicks are a trademark, along with howitzers launched from long range.

At each of the half-dozen clubs in Serie A whom Quagliarella has served, he has left spectacular mementoes, goals from improbable angles, impressive distances, or inspired by a fertile imagination.

But in between the moments of magic, there has lurked a doubt about how best to employ the unpredictable Quagliarella, who turns 30 in the new year.

The complexities over who actually employed him also confused a young professional at the time he was making his reputation.

He was at various times part-owned by Udinese, Ascoli and Sampdoria and then subject to a blind bid for full rights between Samp and Udinese.

When Napoli bought him outright, it looked like he might really belong, moving to the Naples of his birth, but he would be eclipsed there by Edinson Cavani. Juventus initially took him on loan.

He is now on a contract until 2015, although he has still started from the bench this term as often as in the starting line-up.

This latest run of form - he has six goals from five Serie A starts - may change that, and persuade Juve he can be spectacular and a good soldier.

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