- An Italian footballer’s stalker has been jailed for more than four years.
- Fabio Quagliarella, 36, and his family were reportedly tormented by Raffaele Piccolo after the forward’s move to Napoli in 2009.
- Piccolo, who posed as the forward’s friend, tried to incriminate Quagliarella as a pedophile by sending him pictures of underage girls, according to Bleacher Report.
- He also sent death threats, including a photo of the Italian’s face nailed to a coffin, Bleacher Report says.
- “I cried a lot. I am not embarrassed. I cried because I was suffering and because I could not understand who was doing it to me,” the striker, now at Sampdoria, told Bleacher Report. “I was scared for my family.”
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Fabio Quagliarella, 36, and his family were reportedly tormented by Raffaele Piccolo after the forward’s move to Napoli in 2009, according to Bleacher Report, who spoke with Quagliarella earlier this year.
Piccolo, a cybercrime expert, was introduced to Quagliarella by a friend after the striker started receiving strange encrypted messages to his mobile phone, Bleacher Report says. The 54-year-old pretended to help the Italian but instead used his trust to escalate the abuse.
Piccolo began sending letters to the player’s family, which included pictures of underage girls in an attempt to incriminate the Napoli star as being part of a pedophile ring. He sent death threats and intimate personal stories that only the family would know, Quagliarella told the Turner-owned website.
On one occasion, he sent a photo of coffin with Quagliarella’s face attached to his father, Vittorio, alongside a note which read: “Vittorio’s son will be killed.”
The abuse went on for months, prompting Quagliarella and his family to leave Naples for Turin, where he joined Juventus. It was here that it emerged Piccolo was indeed his stalker, after he met others who had suffered the same abuse, and the police became involved.
After an ongoing investigation, Piccolo was arressted by The State Police of Castellammare di Stabia on October 26, and will serve just under five years behind bars, Football Italia reports.
Quagliarella says the abuse ruined his life for a period of time
“I cried a lot. I am not embarrassed. I cried because I was suffering and because I could not understand who was doing it to me,” he told Bleacher Report.
“I was scared for my family, my two brothers and my sisters and my eight young nephews. I would be worried that they would be in danger, maybe while going to school. I would be thinking, ‘Because of me, they have to go through this.’ I felt guilty, even if I hadn’t done anything wrong.”
Not only did the torment affect his personal life, it also took its toll in his professional career – the striker’s form dipped dramatically.
“My head was somewhere else,” he said. “I wasn’t as focused on what I was doing as I should have been. I would always be worrying about being in danger. I was scared. I would rarely go out, and when I did I would be looking over my shoulders to see if somebody was following me.”
The subsequent move to Juventus, which he felt was for his own safety, prompted even further problems, with Napoli fans unhappy he’d left his boyhood club for its closest rivals.
“I was detested and judged as a traitor because of that situation [being sold by Napoli to Juventus], and believe me, being judged in this way by my own people hurts.”
Quagliarella has gone on to have a fantastic career in Italy, scoring over 150 goals to date for nine different clubs, most recently Sampdoria, where he scored 26 times in Serie A last term, making him the division’s top scorer.
He has also managed nine goals in 28 appearances for the Italian national team.
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