Before Sunday’s derby match against Sampdoria, a Genoa youth coach was caught spying on their city rivals’ training session in “full military attire,” leading to what might be the greatest press release in the history of professional sports.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Sampdoria fans saw or overheard some rustling in the trees bordering the training pitch. A member of the club’s staff then decided to look into the matter, and after a quick chase discovered the spy hiding behind a tree. The man turned out to be none other than Luca De Pra, a Genoa youth coach and “popular figure in the city.”
Sampdoria later posted this image of De Pra on their official web site, along with the following statement:
That the derby is a question of nerve, tactics and strategy we already knew, but frankly we could never expect that it could turn into a scene of espionage.
Like Rambo hidden among the branches on the hill, Luca De Pra, Genoa goalkeeping coach and man of noble footballing ancestry, failed to overcome Sampdoria’s intelligence and counter intelligence operations.
However, no prisoners were taken, and no blood was shed. Once tracked down and caught red-handed, the opposing side’s soldier was let free to return to base. You should always forgive your enemies, as nothing annoys them more.
Just brilliant stuff.
As for Genoa, the club has come out and said that this battleground tactic was all De Pra’s idea and suspended the coach indefinitely. The best part? Genoa didn’t seem to need any help whatsoever, cruising to a 3-0 win on Sunday.