Fabio Quagliarella recalls stalking ordeal that led to Napoli exit

Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella has opened up about the five-year stalking ordeal which came to an end recently.

Quagliarella, 34, and his family were subjected to death threats, and he says he was forced to flee Naples for his own safety after being stalked by a man who was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison last week.

The striker is now trying to put the whole ordeal behind him, and hopes that he can one day return to Naples having been able to explain the reason behind his unexpected departure.

"I imagined myself as captain of Napoli; of winning something with them because they were becoming as good a team as they are now -- a great team," Quagliarella told Mediaset. "If none of this had happened, I am certain I would still be playing there now.

"It has been an ordeal which has left its mark on my career. You may be training with your body, but your head wasn't there. It would have been great to stay there; to become their captain.

"I was made out to be a vile person and, believe me, it hurts when your own people see you like that. Each time I went back to Naples, I had to cover my head and face to hide my identity because I was scared of somebody recognising me and saying something to me.

"When my friends invited me out, I had to say no. I can't argue with my people. They don't deserve it and I don't deserve it, so I kept telling myself 'I hope that day comes' and the wait is now over -- it has finally arrived."

Although the former Italy international ultimately left Napoli, he would not hesitate in returning if he were given the opportunity to do so now.

"It would be great, it would be fantastic even if they only had the idea to take me back," Quagliarella said. "When I look back at my career, I look back to my time there and see unfinished business. It's like you're faced with an open goal and are about to shoot, and then somebody takes the ball way.

"Every goal I scored there felt like 100, because you could see what it meant for them."