It seems Genoa's youth goalkeeping coach, Luca De Pra, was attempting to go John Rambo with his surveillance of rival Sampdoria's practices.
Apparently, fans saw a man decked out in camouflage watching the practices from the hills and alerted officials. From there, we have a hilarious picture of De Pra and quite the wonderful press release from Sampdoria explaining the mess, translated by Ricchiuti:
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.
Please tell me that before they went looking for De Pra, one Sampdoria official looked at the other and said, "You're telling me 200 of my men against this guy is a no-win situation?"
To which the other would have said, "If you send that many, don't forget one thing: a lot of body bags."
Then they would have had a great laugh, patted each other on the back for remembering a great scene from a classic movie and moved on to get the crazy guy out of the hills.
Metro reports that De Pra may suffer more than just an international shaming.
Before their Serie A clash against Sampdoria, Genoa effectively disavowed of De Pra's actions—a very Mission: Impossible turn for the Jacques Clouseau of football espionage.
According to the report, the club stated De Pra has been punished for his transgressions:
No director or member of the coaching staff sent Luca De Pra to watch the training session at Bogliasco.
It was a personal initiative. This has never been done before and is not part of the club’s modus operandi.
The club makes it known that De Pra has been suspended with immediate effect pending further explanations.
It gets better, because Metro revealed there may have been another spy on the other side of the hills, but he got away.
And with that, we now have a new and deep respect for Italian football and their zany antics. Bill Belichick is most definitely impressed.
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