Words: Max Freeman-Mills
Image: Offside Sports Photography

Fabio Quagliarella is a man you could try to beat with that old trope: “a scorer of great goals, but not a great scorer of goals”.

But, if you did, you’d be a misanthrope, and wrong. And miserable. This man has scored, through his career, a stream of outrageous goals. Lots of them. From chips to back-heels to screamers to (occasionally) headers, the guy can do it all.

Here are seven of his very best, whittled down from a long, long list of corkers.

v ATALANTA – 2006

Straight back to the earlier days, here. Running through against Atalanta for Sampdoria in 2006, Quagliarella is very much going away from goal. The angle’s getting worse every millisecond. Then he pulls this out, a chip on his weak foot, with a teasing element of scoop about it. The keeper’s got no chance but makes it better with a dramatic attempt to reach it, and the ball nestles in the side netting, just where it belongs.

v Chievo – 2018

This is the one that really caught people’s attention again. Fabio’s run of scoring in consecutive matches this season has featured some nice strikes and some ludicrously thumped pens, but this one stands out. Flicking it under that much pressure, with his heel, on the half volley, getting a curl on it that would make any free kick taker proud. The slow-mo angles really show the artistry, the way he cushions it, the follow-through to control it. Hell of a goal.

v Lithuania – 2007

Fabio played a quarter century of games for the Azzurri, grabbing half a dozen goals. A nice, but irrelevant chip in the disaster that was their 2010 World Cup isn’t quite as good as this half-volley. In the mire away to Lithuania in qualifying, he collects the ball with an unconventional touch and just bangs it in, lashes it, gives it some proper welly. The touch makes his mind up, and we’re grateful it did.

v Napoli – 2018

This one’s more traditional, closer to the sorts of back heel volleys we’ve seen before. Except it patently isn’t, because look at how far off the ground he is! And look at how absurdly well he hits it! That’s your standard, well-struck shot once it leaves his fucking heel. The strutting celebration is perfect, he knows he can do it, but he also knows he can dine out on that for a while. Check out the crowd reaction shots for entirely appropriate disbelief.

v Chievo – 2007

Here we are again, back to the era where Italian football inexplicably still looked like the 70s on TV. Fabio’s strike against Chievo here is like an early forefather of Luis Suárez’s against Norwich (you know, that one), the distance, the massive height on the shot, the opportunism all in sync. Bear in mind he’s actually chested that down away from goal, and the inch-perfect arc on it is all the sillier.

v Atalanta – 2010

This time playing for Napoli, in a red kit that probably doesn’t need reprising, Fabio shows that if you like powerful longshots, he’s got them in his locker too. Firstly, there’s the way he decides to shoot; you can practically see the thought, it’s so nonchalant. Then there’s the dip. My word, the dip, how does it go so high and still come down? The coup de grâce, obviously, is the ping off the post at the end. Just obscene.

v Reggina – 2006

It’s one thing banging in a bikey direct from a corner. It’s another to do it while getting your shirt basically pulled off you by a defender, still keeping your eyes dead on the ball and getting a genuinely clean connection with the ball. He doesn’t even sodding fall over—a bicycle kit completed without landing on his arse. Fabio has no respect for footballing conventions. Oh, and, spoilers, but he did it again for Juve a few years later.

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