With Gianluca Vialli at his best, Sampdoria had the most successful era's in its history. Vialli was the league's top scorer with 19 goals in their title win. They also won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1990) – where he scored both goals in the 2–0 win over Anderlecht in the final, and three Italian Cups (in 1985, 1988 and 1989), also setting a record of 13 goals in a single edition of the Coppa Italia during his time at the club.
Sampdoria President Mantovani surprised the football world by signing Liverpool stalwart and captain Graeme Souness in 1984 for a fee of £650,000.
Souness and England international Trevor Francis – a player at the Genoa-based club since 1982 – added experience to an emerging group of future Italian internationals, including Roberto Mancini, Pietro Vierchowod and Gianluca Vialli. In his first season, Sampdoria won the Coppa Italia with a 3–1 victory over AC Milan, securing the trophy for the first time in the club's history.
After his retirement from international football in 1993, Gullit moved to Sampdoria. He was handed the number 4 shirt, as his regular number 10 was occupied by local hero Roberto Mancini. Gullit led the club to victory in the final of the 1994 Italian Cup and scored the winner in a 3-2 league victory over old club Milan as Samp finished a creditable 3rd in Serie A. His performances were so impressive that Milan re-signed him in 1994, but after little playing time he returned to Sampdoria to finish the 1995 season.
Roberto Mancini debuted in the Italian Serie A for Bologna in 1981. The following year, he was bought by Sampdoria, for £2.2 million, whom he played for until 1997. With Sampdoria, he formed a dynamic strike partnership with Gianluca Vialli, and helped the club to its only league title in 1991, four Coppa Italias and a Cup Winners' Cup in 1990. He also appeared in the final of the 1992 European Cup against Barcelona.
At 27, Mancini sat on the interview panel that selected Sven-Göran Eriksson as manager. Mancini often delivered the team-talk for Sampdoria. He attended board meetings and had a say in transfer business. At that stage Mancini had established himself as the most powerful voice in the Blucerchiati dressing room.
A domestic league has surely never been as superior as Serie A in the late 80s and early 90s. It was so seductively chic that the world's best players flocked to Italy including the likes of Maradona, van Basten and Francescoli. Goals may have been at a premium but the entertainment was of a subtler kind. Serie A wowed its disciples with an intimidatingly high technical and tactical quality.
It is in this context that we must understand Sampdoria's first and only scudetto in 1990-91, one of football's great modern fairytales, was a gloriously improbable triumph.
At Sampdoria Gianluca Vialli formed a prolific strike partnership with team mate and childhood friend Roberto Mancini, earning the nickname The Terrible Twins.
They complemented each other perfectly: Vialli was ruthless, powerful and irrepressible while the impish genius that was Mancini made mischief in the hole behind him.
Unione Calcio Sampdoria is based in Genoa. The club was formed in 1946 from the merger of two existing sports clubs whose roots can be traced back to the 1890s, Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria.
Sampdoria play at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, which it shares with Genoa's other club, Genoa CFC. The derby between the two teams is commonly known as the Derby della Lanterna.
'I Blucerchiati', the blue-ringed, have won the scudetto only once in their history, in 1991. Their biggest European success came when they won the Cup Winners' Cup a year earlier. They also reached the European Cup final in 1992 only to lose against Barcelona, 1–0 after extra time.