Quagliarella equals Batistuta Serie A record

Milan (AFP) –


Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella bagged a brace on Saturday as he equalled Gabriel Batistuta's record for scoring in 11 consecutive Serie A games, in a 4-0 win over Udinese.

Quagliarella, who turns 36 next week, matched the mark after converting a penalty after 31 minutes, and added a second, again from the spot, on 56 minutes.

The evergreen forward also had a role in the other two goals -- in the build-up to Karol Linetty's third on 68 minutes, and the decisive cross for Manolo Gabbiadini to tap in ten minutes later.

"I'm speechless. I get emotional, because I never imagined something like that," said Quagliarella who left the pitch to a standing ovation six minutes from time.

"I kept thinking with every game that the run would surely be interrupted, but it kept going.

"I'll be 36 in a few days, so this makes me so proud. All my sacrifices have led to this, something I never thought could happen."

"I don't go out there to score goals, as I am just as happy if I provide an assist for a teammate."

Batistuta scored at least one goal per game in the opening 11 games of the season in 1994-1995 for Fiorentina. The Argentine went on to finish the season as the top scorer with 26 goals.

Quagliarella has had one of the best seasons of his career with Sampdoria.

He has scored 14 goals in his 11-match run for a total of 16 this season, to go top of the Serie A scorers ahead of Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo (14).

The 25-times capped Italian international scored a career best 19 goals last season.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini watched in the stands in Genoa, but Quagliarella, who scored seven goals for the national side between 2007 and 2010, is not expecting a recall.

"Mancini knows what he is doing. He has to put faith in the youth, otherwise the country will never grow. I just have to do well for Sampdoria."

He will bid to break the record in Sampdoria's next game at Napoli next weekend.

"My next ambition is just to reach the next game and enjoy football," said the forward who hails from Castellammare di Stabia, southeast of Naples.

He joined the Genoa club in 2016 having previously played for teams including Juventus, where he won three Serie A titles, Napoli and Torino.

Sampdoria moved up to sixth, the final Europa League berth, and just one point off the Champions League places.