Serie A Five things we learned in Italian league

Napoli's fans have welcomed blackmail victim Fabio Quagliarella back to the fold after years of wrongful accusations, Juve and Inter are watching restive PSG star Marco Verratti and Juventus, whose coach Massimiliano Allegri could soon be on his way to Arsenal, don't believe they get referee favours.

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Fabio Quagliarella recently explained feeling compelled to leave Naples after a terrifying blackmailing and stalking episode play

Fabio Quagliarella recently explained feeling compelled to leave Naples after a terrifying blackmailing and stalking episode

(AFP/File)
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Napoli's fans have welcomed blackmail victim Fabio Quagliarella back to the fold after years of wrongful accusations, Juve and Inter are watching restive PSG star Marco Verratti and Juventus, whose coach Massimiliano Allegri could soon be on his way to Arsenal, don't believe they get referee favours.

Here are five thigs we learned in Serie A at the weekend:

Blackmailed? Ok, you're welcome back

Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella's tear-jerking revelations following the conviction of a blackmailing stalker who wrecked his dream move to Napoli seven years ago recently made headlines. And Napoli fans have apologised for his excommunication following a shock more to bitter rivals Juventus in 2011, less than two years into a five-year deal.

Quagliarella recently explained feeling compelled to leave Naples after a terrifying blackmailing and stalking episode at the hands of Raffaele Piccolo, a former policeman who was recently sentenced to four years and eights months imprisonment.

He had sent letters to Napoli claiming Quagliarella, a former Italy international, was involved in organised crime, paedophilia and drug trafficking. A banner unfurled by Napoli's fans during Sunday's 3-0 win over Crotone declared: "In the hell you were in, you showed great dignity. Fabio you're a son of this city." Quaglirella said: "I'm really moved. It's a lovely gesture and now, finally, I can make peace with my people."

No ref bias, say Juve

Rival fans have long maintained 32-times champions Juventus benefit from biased officiating, and although match referee Davide Massa did little to dash those beliefs during a controversial 2-1 win over AC Milan, Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri was dismissive.

"Whenever decisions go against us, we say nothing. When they go in our favour, all hell breaks loose," Allegri said after the champions maintained an eight-point lead over second-placed Roma. Massa was lambasted by irate fans and faced media scrutiny for awarding Juve a last-gasp penalty when a cross by Stephan Lichtsteiner appeared to come off the arm of Mattia De Sciglio, although television replays were inconclusive.

Paulo Dybala hit the 97th minute penalty winner, then stoked the flames after tempers flared at full-time when he said: "That's six years they (Milan) have been complaining about Juventus. They should really stop blaming the referees."

Allegri to Arsenal?

Following the recent sacking of Claudio Ranieri by champions Leicester, there are only two Italians in England.

If reports are confirmed, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri could join Chelsea's Antonio Conte and Walter Mazzarri at Watford in moving to London, to take over at Arsenal.

The speculation intensified after Arsenal's failure to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals for the sixth successive year piled more pressure on the Gunners' long-serving but embattled coach Arsene Wenger.

Allegri's insistence that he will honour his contract until June 2018 was tempered Sunday by reports suggesting he has been given three weeks to decide.

Juve, Inter join 'Verratti watch'

Italy has been waiting patiently for star Azzurri midfielder Marco Verratti to finally play in Serie A, and Juventus and Inter Milan are both looking to pounce after Paris Saint-Germain's stunning Champions League exit to Barcelona.

Verratti was bashed in the French media for a mediocre performance, as well as for an alleged visit to a nightclub with a fellow player two days before PSG's sensational 6-1 defeat at the Camp Nou.

Although linked with the Ligue 1 champions until 2021, Verratti's agent Donato Di Campli says the unfounded media allegations could lead to an early departure, telling Premium Sport on Sunday: "Marco is very angry and I can say that, if we see a repeat of such episodes, we'll be thinking seriously about his future. Marco's not angry with the club or the fans, who have been fantastic. He has a contract until 2021... but it's also true my telephone won't stop ringing."

American touch for Palermo president

Palermo's new president Paulo Baccaglini is an America-Italian who is reportedly set to take 100% control of the club from longtime owner Maurizio Zamparini.

But after his first match in charge on Sunday, he believes the American touch could have saved the Sicilians, at least briefly, on their way to a chastening 3-1 defeat to Roma that left them third from bottom.

An early goal scored by Ilija Nestorovski, following a goalline blunder by Roma 'keeper Wojciech Szczesny, was correctly ruled out for offside. Baccaglini, wasn't impressed: "I come from America. In football, there would have been a halt to have a look at the video images. But this is calcio (football). Obviously starting with a one-goal lead would have been better."

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