Former Sampdoria XI: Can Cassano find a place in the lineup?

Former Sampdoria XI: Can Cassano find a place in the lineup?

When you think of Serie A the first clubs that spring to mind are the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan, not the one-time title winners Sampdoria (1990/1). 

The club finished seventh in the Italian top flight last season in what is just their second campaign back in the Serie A following a brief stint in the Serie B.

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In recent times, the club has achieved consecutive mid-table finishes but has continued its reputation of having a strong youth academy, selling the likes of Mauro Icardi, Simone Zaza and Andrea Polli for significant transfer fees.

Only a few days ago, the club from Genoa re-signed former player Antonio Cassano after a six-month exile from football.

The former Roma, Real Madrid and AC Milan striker terminated his contract with Parma, who thanks to financial difficulty dissolved and reformed in Serie D, in January and had subsequently failed to find a suitable club.

The 33-year-old had previously spent four seasons at Sampdoria, becoming vice-captain of the side and helping them reach fourth place in the Serie A 2008-09 season.

He had initially been scouted by Roma during his time playing with his hometown side Bari and was bought for a figure of 60 billion Lire (now €30 million, figure per ESPN).

Now he has returned to his former club having spent time at Roma, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Despite his illustrious past and status at the club, could the striker make it into Sampdoria’s greatest ever starting XI?

Sergio Romero

The now Manchester United goalkeeper and current Argentine number one spent four years at Sampdoria before his move to the Premier League.

His performances for Argentina in the World Cup meant that Romero was, in fact, named on the three-man shortlist for FIFA’s Golden Glove award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper due after helping his country reach the final, an honour which he eventually lost to Germany’s Manuel Neuer.

Des Walker

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Walker caught the eye of manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

 

Walker was signed for Sampdoria by then coach Sven Goran-Eriksson following his impressive performances for England during Euro 1992.

The former England international spent just one season at the Italian side following an injury that saw him struggle to find the form that had seen him feature in the PFA Team of the Year four consecutive times from 1988 through to 1992.

Marcello Lippi

Italy’s former World Cup winning manager made over 250 appearances for Sampdoria in the 70s before leaving for U.S. Pistoiese in 1979.

Lippi entered management in 1982 after finishing his playing career at the age of 34. He went on to coach 13 different teams including Italy, Juventus, Napoli and Inter.

Hugo Campagnaro

The former Sampdoria and Napoli player is currently a free agent following the end of his contract with Inter Milan.

He spent two years at the Genoan club before moving to Napoli for free in 2009 after signing for the side in preparations for their 2007 Intertoto cup participation. Campagnaro featured just once for his national side during the 2014 World Cup in their 1-0 defeat by Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ruud Gullit 

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Gullit won the Copa Italia in the 1993/4 season.

 

The former Netherlands captain was part of the Sampdoria side that lifted the Italian cup in the 1993-94 season after signing from Serie A rivals AC Milan.

He spent two years at the club and managed to score 24 goals in his 53 appearances for the side before transferring to Chelsea in 1995.

Trevor Francis

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Britain’s first £1m player.

 

England’s first ever £1m player (figure per the Telegraph) spent four years at the Italian club after signing from Manchester City.

Francis was part of the Sampdoria side that won the Coppa Italia in 1985 – the first time that the club had ever won the trophy. He later joined Atalanta. However, he only managed to score once in his 21 appearances for the side.

Clarence Seedorf

The Dutchman is the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs – winning it once with Ajax in 1995, twice with Real Madrid in 1998 and 2000, and twice with Milan in 2003 and 2007.

He spent a just single season at Sampdoria before signing for La Liga giants Real Madrid but helped the side finish in a commendable eighth place in his first and last season with the side.

Grame Souness

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The former Scottish international was part of the Sampdoria side, along with international teammate Trevor Francis, to help win the Coppa Italia with a 3-1 victory over AC Milan.

Souness was brought into the side to help bring experience to young developing Italian internationals Roberto Mancini, Pietro Vierchowod and Gianluca Vialli. He spent two years at the club before taking up the role of player-manager with Rangers in 1986.

David Platt

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Platt is currently the head coach of Indian Super League club FC Pune City. However, he spent two seasons with Sampdoria after joining from Juventus in 1993.

He played 55 league games for Sampdoria, scoring 17 goals and was part of the side that won the Coppa Italia in 1994. He had been offered a two-year extension with the Genoese club but Arsenal manager Bruce Ricoh managed to convince him to join the Gunners.

Roberto Mancini

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The current Inter Milan boss joined Sampdoria back in 1982 and stayed with the club until his eventual transfer to Lazio in 1997.

He helped the side win their first league title in 1991 as well as four Coppa Italias and a Cup Winners’ Cup in 1990.

He also sat on the interview panel that selected Sven-Göran Eriksson as manager and regularly attended board meetings and had a say in transfer business.

Gianluca Vialli

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The striker formed a prolific strike partnership with fellow Italian international Mancini. With Vialli leading the line, Sampdoria won their first ever Serie A championship in the 1990–91 season, in which Vialli was the league’s top scorer with 19 goals.

In addition, he also won three Coppa Italia’s and a UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

He made over 200 appearances for the club before leaving to join Serie A rivals Juventus in 1992.