- The Italian was Serie A’s leading scorer last season
- We speak exclusively to the Sampdoria striker about his goal
- You have until 1 September to vote for your favourite FIFA Puskás Award goal
Among other qualities, goalscoring requires a complex blend of ability, opportunism and speed, and Fabio Quagliarella showed all of them during the 2018/19 Serie A campaign, which he ended as leading scorer with 26 goals. The first of those strikes was a very special work of art that has put him in the running for the FIFA Puskás Award.
“It’s absolutely crazy,” he said in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com.“For them to choose your goal out of all the men’s and women’s championships around the world is pretty crazy.”
Sampdoria were hosting Napoli on Matchday 3 of the season and were 2-0 in front when Quagliarella worked his magic from a Bartosz Bereszynski cross from the right-hand corner of the penalty box.
Taking up the story, the striker said: “The only thought in my head was that I was going to back-heel it rather than use my instep. If I’d hit it with my instep, it would have gone slowly towards the keeper. So the only thing I wanted to do was connect with my heel so it would go faster. And it came off, amazingly well in fact.
“I’m a striker and goalscoring is in my blood. You have to be a bit crazy too, in a healthy way, and think fast.”
Explaining why he chose not to celebrate his stunning strike, he said: “I’d scored against the team I support. I tried to keep it all in but I have to be honest and say that even the Napoli fans were congratulating me afterwards. And the fact they said that despite being on the wrong end of the goal made it even more special. They often say to me: ‘If anyone had to score that goal, then we’re glad it was you’.”
The goal was not followed by a celebration but by a very special dedication to the 43 victims of the Morandi Bridge disaster, which had shaken the city of Genoa only 20 days earlier.
“I wanted to dedicate the goal to the whole of Genoa, to the families of the victims, because it was a very difficult time for the city, as it was for all of us who live here, even if we’re not from Genoa. We could feel the suffering of the people here. In spite of everything, they’re very strong. I know it’s nothing really, just a little gesture, but I needed to do it.”
Quagliarella’s favourites for the FIFA Puskás Award
- “Ibrahimovic, because he makes it a totally unique goal with his acrobatics.
- “Amy Rodriguez, because it’s a terrific piece of skill and she shows great strength to keep the ball under control for so long and finish so well. It’s a spectacular goal.
- “And mine, of course!”
The Sampdoria forward’s flash of brilliance was the perfect prelude to a season he himself describes as “outstanding”.
“If someone had told me what was going to happen, I would have called them mad,” he said. “When you’re a forward you always dream of being the top scorer, but it’s hard to do in Serie A, especially when Cristiano Ronaldo’s in his first season here.
“The icing on the cake was being recalled to the national team and becoming the country’s oldest goalscorer,” he added. “The season couldn’t have gone any better for me.”
It is a goal that is well worth watching again. And do not hesitate to vote for it if it is your favourite for the FIFA Puskás Award 2019.
“I’m amazed every time I see it,” the Italian striker acknowledged with a smile. “A long-range shot, a scissor-kick… they’re something you see all the time. A shot like that is difficult, though. You see back-heels, but with the ball on the ground and closer to goal. But to score like that, with the ball in mid-air and outside the six-yard box, is not easy!”
After reading those passionate words. How could you not give Quagliarella’s goal your vote?