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In one of the best stories of the season so far, Sampdoria were shocked last month to find Genoa youth team coach Luca De Pra, hiding in bushes and spying on one of their training sessions while dressed in full camouflage gear.
As Gazzetta Dello Sport reported, via the Guardian: "Fans at the training session alerted staff after spotting movement in the small woodland area next to the pitch. Two members of staff gave chase and later found the intruder hiding behind a tree, dressed in full military attire."
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Sampdoria release 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 an 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.
Genoa insisted that De Pra was working alone and released a statement of their own: "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."