Unione Calcio Sampdoria, founded in 1893, is part of the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals as the oldest club in Italy. The Ligurians, who share home ground Stadio Luigi Ferraris with Genoa, have an illustrious history, having won the very first Italian championship (which was in those days a one day competition) and many more trophies besides.
As well as lifting the Scudetto in 1990/91, the Blucerchiati have been victorious in four Coppa Italia competitions, a Cup Winners’ Cup and an Italian Super Cup. Their first championship was won in a simple black jersey, but after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 they adopted the colours of the Union Jack flag and have worn them ever since.
The Stadio Luigi Ferraris is the oldest stadium in Italy that is still in use, having been inaugurated in 1911. Originally named Stadio Comunale di Via del Piano (and also known colloquially as the Stadio Marassi due to the area where it is), it took on the name of former Genoa captain Luigi Ferraris in 1933. It has been the home of Sampdoria as well as Genoa since 1946, and after being rebuilt for the four matches it hosted in the 1990 FIFA World Cup it now seats 36,599.
Glory years of the Scudetto victory
1990/91 is a season that holds wonderful memories for Sampdoria fans as the year of the club’s first Scudetto win. The Blucerchiati, with Gianluca Vialli (the league’s top scorer) and Roberto Mancini in the starting line-up, led from the outset, and Vujadin Boskov’s men lifted the trophy with one weekend to spare.
Vasco Regini and Renan Garcia are suspended on this occasion, but manager Delio Rossi will be able to employ the services of Manolo Gabbiadini. The Italian youngster has the potential to be a key figure as far as the Ligurians’ chances this season are concerned.
A striker with a venomous left foot, he has been a crucial part of the success of the Italian Under 21 side since his debut in 2011, scoring a double against Israel in the European Championships that propelled his team into the semi-finals. He was called up to compete at the highest level for the first time by Cesare Prandelli in 2012, and looks set to become a regular fixture in years to come. He has scored two in just one appearance in 2013/14 against Benevento in the Coppa Italia.
Pedro Obiang is a further one to watch. Blessed with an extraordinary athleticism and ability in the tackle, his progress is said to be being tracked by a number of European clubs after consistently strong performances in midfield and topping Sampdoria’s list of assist providers.
A former player with U.S Foggia, Delio Rossi took on his first managerial role at Torremaggiore after graduating with honours from a sports science degree. He had instant success at the Promozione team, winning the league in his first season. He pulled off similarly extraordinary feats at Lazio, where in the 2006/7 season he guided them to third place in Serie A and in 2009 he led them to a Coppa Italia victory. After a stint at Fiorentina he joined Sampdoria in December 2012, saving them from the threat of relegation and inspiring some great wins, including a memorable 3-1 derby victory against Genoa.
Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero has left the club on a season-long loan to Ligue 1 hopefuls Monaco, but it is the departures of Mauro Icardi – who scored a double against Juve in Turin - and Andrea Poli which will probably affect them most. Arguably their two brightest talents, the pair have moved to Inter and Milan respectively. Former Juventus winger Marcelo Estigarribia and Maxi Lopez have also both said goodbye as their loan periods have come to an end.
In terms of arrivals, Gabbiadini is the most prominent. Spending this season with the Blucerchiati on a €5.5 million co-ownership deal with Juventus, in this game the Bianconeri will attempt to limit him as much as possible. Also new to the club are highly regarded young Poles Bartosz Salamon and Pawel Wszolek.
The club has enjoyed a remarkably successful pre-season, marred only by a narrow 1-2 loss to Haladás. Otherwise, they began their preparations with a 16-0 demolition of Bardonecchia, followed by another four wins on the trot. Notable amongst these was a 4-3 victory against Olympique Marseille. A Gabbiadini double against Benevento on 17 August has also sent them into the fourth round of the Coppa Italia, where they will face Hellas Verona.