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Quagliarella Retires at 40 Years Old

The forward Fábio Quagliarella, renowned for his numerous stunning goals, announced his retirement from professional football this Monday, after nearly six months without a club.

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Born on January 31, 1983, the son of a passionate Neapolitan father, Fábio Quagliarella fell in love with football and decided to pursue a career as a player at the age of 7 after watching Maradona at the San Paolo Stadium (now Diego Armando Maradona) during that brilliant season of scudetto conquest.

After being amazed by a shaggy-haired Argentine who glued the ball to his left foot and performed bewildering dribbles, he set a life goal: to wear the celestial jersey of his idol.

Fábio spent a good amount of time playing for the amateur team Junior Gragnano, where he stood out and became the focal point of a field dispute between the giants of Turin. This time, Torino came out on top, offering better conditions for the young athlete.

Fábio developed greatly in the Torino youth ranks, spending a total of 6 years before being called up to the first team in 2000. However, things were not easy for Toro, and the young promising Fábio had little space in the two seasons he spent with the first team.


As a result, he began to be loaned to more modest teams in Italy, which was crucial for gaining experience. He spent a season with Florentia and another with Chieti, scoring a total of 20 goals and delivering good performances. These experiences allowed him to return to Torino.

In 2004, he was a starter for the Piedmontese team in Serie B and helped them achieve promotion to Serie A with goals and assists. However, the club was in a terrible financial situation and went bankrupt. Quagliarella was left without a contract and was then signed by Udinese.

Quagliarella in 2004 during Torino's promotion campaign. Photo: reproduction.
Quagliarella in 2004 during Torino’s promotion campaign. Photo: reproduction.

Udinese quickly loaned him to Ascoli, where the young goal-scorer had a solid Serie A performance, scoring three goals and showcasing great potential.

Sampdoria, recognizing him as a promising young talent, purchased half of his rights from Udinese, and Fábio played the 2006-07 season with the Genoa-based team on loan.

The Cheese Man’s Explosion

This was definitely the season that solidified him as a great striker. He scored 13 goals, most of them stunning, showcasing Fábio’s extreme ease in handling the ball with both feet and putting a lot of power into his shots. When his shots were on target, goalkeepers rarely had a chance.

In this season, he scored goals with a bicycle kick, from midfield, and from outside the box – they were all spectacular. In the 7th round, he scored the fastest goal of the round and was rewarded with a 73-kilogram Montasio cheese, earning him the nickname “Cheese Man”.

Photo: New Press

After a solid season with Sampdoria, Udinese spent 7.3 million euros to secure 100% of Quagliarella’s rights. He returned to the Bianconeri, this time to play, and play he did.

He delivered two seasons of high performance, scoring 33 goals in 73 games – 25 in Serie A and 8 in the UEFA Cup, helping Udinese reach the quarter-finals.

After these three fantastic seasons that solidified him as the Cheese Man and the scorer of stunning goals, he was highly valued in the market and received some interesting offers. However, one of them was the dream offer he had envisioned his entire life – Napoli.

The Neapolitan Dream

Just as he had dreamed of as a child, Quagliarella was signed by Napoli for 16 million euros and would play wearing the revered jersey of Diego Armando Maradona.

However, not everything went smoothly. Despite fulfilling his dream, Fábio, along with Napoli, did not perform well in the 2009-2010 season, especially at the beginning when Quagliarella went almost three months without scoring.

Nevertheless, he continued to do his job and scored 11 goals for the Partenopei, some of them, as usual, stunning goals, but it wasn’t the way he had hoped.

Despite the below-par season, Fábio wanted to continue with Napoli. However, due to various factors, mainly threats and blackmail from a local police officer, he had to pack his bags and look for a new club.

In the following season, he joined the Old Lady, where he became a multi-champion.

Photo: reprodução The Independent UK

The Bianconeri Supremacy

Entering the 2010-2011 season, Juventus was in a transitional phase, bidding farewell to old acquaintances and trying to restructure the team. Fábio had another good season, scoring 9 goals and earning more and more playing time in the starting XI.

In the following season, alongside Quagliarella, Juventus began a dominance never before seen in football. With beautiful goals, Fábio helped the Old Lady secure the Serie A titles in 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014.

Even though he wasn’t a starter at all times during these seasons, the Cheese Man contributed with 30 goals in 101 appearances, including scoring crucial and masterful goals, such as the one against Chievo in the 4th round of the 2012-2013 Serie A. After a corner kick taken from the penalty spot, Quagliarella aimed and unleashed a beautiful right-footed volley with such force that the goalkeeper touched the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

With this goal, Quagliarella was essential for Juventus to maintain their 43-game unbeaten streak in the Italian league at that time.

The Juventus supremacy was so remarkable that these four seasons with Quagliarella, featuring three Scudettos, paved the way for one of the most extraordinary streaks in football: 9 consecutive league titles, starting in 2011-2012 and concluding in 2019-2020.

Photo: Stringer/Italy

The Bull

After four special seasons with Juventus, Quagliarella, who believed he was heading towards the end of his career, decided to return to his youth club, Torino. This time, Torino was more structured and nearly free from financial and off-field issues.

In the 2014-2015 season, Quagliarella showed why he returned and scored 17 goals for the Bulls, helping the team finish 7th in Serie A, qualifying for the Europa League qualifying round and reaching the round of 16 in the Europa League, where they were eliminated by Zenit.

However, in the following season, he lost his place to the young Belotti and was loaned to Sampdoria in February 2016.

The Return to Sampdoria and the Birth of a Legend

In 2016, in the final part of the season, the Cheese Man returned to the team that showcased him as a great talent. After nearly 10 years, he was more experienced and even more lethal.

At 33, Fábio was considered by many to be a player on the brink of retirement who wouldn’t contribute much to Sampdoria. However, Quagliarella defied statistics and had his best years in football after turning 33, at least in terms of numbers.

In the last 6 months of the first season back, he scored 3 goals, but in the following seasons, he began to score one after another, including several stunning goals.

Over the next 5 seasons, the goal-scoring maestro scored double-digit goals in each of them, with a standout performance in the 2018-2019 season, scoring 26 in Serie A, becoming the top scorer that year, ahead of stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Dzeko, Mertens, Icardi, among others.

This magical season earned the Cheese Man a return to the Italian national team.

In the following seasons, Quagliarella’s performance declined, mainly due to his aging physique.

In his last season with Sampdoria, he witnessed his team relegated to the second division and did not have his contract renewed.

Despite the relegation and the team’s overall poor performance in recent years, Quagliarella is regarded as a great idol of the club. He brought unimaginable goals and constant joy to Sampdoria’s fans.

Quagliarella has fantastic career statistics, especially at Sampdoria, where he is the club’s 4th all-time leading scorer with 106 goals.

In his last game for Sampdoria, knowing he wouldn’t renew, he emotionally said, ‘There were infinite emotions in a few days. The goal against Milan, the applause at San Siro and in Udine, the inseparable hug with my fans in Genoa, seeing Sampdoria being rescued, the last game at Maradona against the Italian champion Napoli, and the tribute from my fellow Neapolitans. I apologize, you saw me cry a lot. But all these dreams you have since childhood. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. With much affection, I reciprocate the love I received from each of you.’

In other words, it’s no wonder he is a great idol at Sampdoria.

Photo: Image Photo Agency s.a.s

A Farewell to Quagliarella

This Monday, 20/11/2023, after being without a club for six months, Quagliarella announced on national television on Sky Sports that he was ending his glorious career, filled with unparalleled goals.

He said, ‘I am in unacceptable physical conditions to step onto the field now. I am being forced. Maybe something will happen, but I am not in physical condition. Certainly, I have dreams, one of them is to stay in the world of football and understand the new role that suits me. But we have plenty of time to figure out which path to take.’

Aware of his condition and that everything has its time, that time has come. He will be sorely missed in Serie A, especially for his determination and stunning goals.

Quagliarella, the goal-scoring maestro, or the Cheese Man, leaves football with the record of scoring in 11 consecutive Serie A matches. He is also the ninth player with the most appearances in the championship with 556 matches and the 14th highest scorer with 182 goals.


Written by João Felipe Miller.

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