How Fabio Quagliarella is on the best form of his career at 36 

Roberto Mancini's exciting Italy
team is built around youth. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nicolo Barella, Nicolò Zaniolo and Moise Kean symbolise a bright future. Cagliari's waspish midfielder Barella is the 'old man' of that crew, aged 22. 
But there was another name who caught the eye in the 6-0 crushing of Liechtenstein in Parma on Monday night.
Amid the hungry young pups, a familiar face scored twice from the spot, earning cheers across the peninsular. Anyone with a soft spot for Italian football was thrilled when golden oldie Fabio Quagliarella plundered his first goals in the famous blue shirt since November 2010.
The Sampdoria forward is 36 years and 55 days old, but says 'I don't feel my age'. His enthusiasm and professionalism made it impossible for Mancini to ignore him. 
On Monday the veteran made his first start in a competitive international since October 2009, and repaid his boss.
'I have always said I don't look at their ages. If people are in good form and serious, they will be considered,' said Mancini. 
Quaglia, from Castellammare di Stabia near Naples, was a substitute in Friday's qualifier in Udine against Finland, and hit the bar with a powerful drive from a tight angle not long after replacing Ciro Immobile.
The decision to bring the forward back into the national squad is logical. Quagliarella is Serie A top scorer with 21 goals so far. Yes - he's even ahead of the man they call 'CR7'. 
Immobile is struggling for goals in the Italy jersey, while Torino powerhouse Andrea Belotti is still finding his form after serious injuries. Mario Balotelli is one of Mancini's favourites, but he needs time to get in tip-top physical condition at new side Marseille.
Italy caps
: 28 (8 goals)
Club performances and circumstances have presented the Samp hitman with a second chance, and he is taking it. 
His knowledge and dedication will also rub off on the younger guys in the group, including 19-year-old Juventus prodigy Kean.
What makes this renaissance even sweeter is the traumatic events of a few years ago. 
Rewind to a summer nine years ago, and Quaglia had just scored one of the goals of the tournament in Italy's group defeat to Slovakia at the 2010 World Cup.
His sumptuous twenty-yard chip generated global headlines and he should have become calcio's next big 'bomber', as Italians call strikers. 
He was playing for the team he supported, Napoli, and had just lit up the World Cup. But betrayal by a family friend put a handbrake on his blossoming career.
Napoli sold Quagliarella to Juventus straight after South Africa 2010, without an apparent motive. Incensed and heartbroken fans burned his shirts and called him a traitor. Some supporters claimed he'd got too big for his boots, or was involved in organised crime.
Quagliarella won three league titles at Juve, but wasn't a regular. He then crossed the city to Torino in 2014 and he wasn't a prolific scorer, but when he did find the net, it was usually a wondergoal. From the Maroons of Turin he re-joined Samp for a second spell, where he is now captain.
But despite the amazing goals, there was an air of mystery over his failure to build on the progress he made in 2010. A deep sense of unfulfilled potential, even melancholy. He'd stumbled from 'next-big-thing' to ageing journeyman.
All was revealed in 2017. The player gave an astonishing interview
 with Mediaset's current affairs programme 'Le Iene'. Quagliarella explained how he had been victim of a stalker for almost five years. 
It started in Naples in 2010, when he began receiving poison pen letters accusing him of being a paedophile, a mafioso, and a drug user who gambled on his own matches.
His club at the time, Napoli, were also receiving the mail, and were spooked enough to sell the player. What made the ordeal even worse was that Quagliarella later discovered it was a police officer and family friend called Raffaele Piccolo who was waging the vile campaign.
Whichever club he played at, the abuse continued. He couldn't even return to his beloved south. 
'Everytime I went back to Naples I had to wear hats and dark glasses. I had to cover up. Sometimes my friends wanted to go out for a drink. But I couldn't,' the star told Mediaset
But after a slip up by Piccolo, Quagliarella's father Vittorio discovered the truth. In Spring 2017 the stalker was sentenced to just over four and a half years in prison. The family were finally able to talk about their suffering.
It's no coincidence that since the end of his torment, the evergreen ace has gone from strength to strength and added quantity to quality. Over the last three seasons his goal total has increased from 12, to 19 to the current haul of 21 and counting.
The reborn bomber is enjoying the greatest form of his life and is liked and respected by fans of all teams. 
He even jokes with Italian comedy trio 'Gli Autogol' about his advancing years, once dressing as a hunched-pensioner slowly making his way home with his shopping and walking stick in a cheeky sketch.
Earlier this year he equalled Gabriel Batistuta's Serie A record of hitting the net in 11 consecutive games, and now he has become Italy's oldest ever scorer. 
After Monday night's handsome victory over Lichtenstein he wrote on his Instagram page: 'I promise that even if I'd imagined the perfect evening, it wouldn't have been as good as this. Thanks to my team-mates, the boss and his staff. Thanks, because it's rare to live such emotions at the age of 36!'
The two-goal hero, who earned a standing ovation from the crowd at Parma's Tardini Stadium, also confessed that nominated penalty takers Leonardo Bonucci and Jorginho encouraged him to take the spot kicks.
This thrilling young Italy team will need wise heads once Euro 2020 arrives. Captain Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci will lead the Ministry of Defence, and Quaglia is the ideal candidate to guide the attackers.
The well-travelled marksman is making up for lost time and no one begrudges him this second youth. Unfortunately for Italy's upcoming opponents, this 'old geezer' is staying around. 

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