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Genoa Coach Caught Spying On Rivals Sampdoria
A coach from Italy's Serie A side Genoa has been caught spying on local rivals Sampdoria dressed in Rambo-style camouflage ahead of their derby clash on Sunday.
Luca De Pra was reportedly spotted hiding in a wood next to Sampdoria's training ground Bogliasco by fans who alerted staff.
Team manager Giorgio Ajazzone and communications director Alberto Marangon chased after Mr De Pra, who tried to flee the scene.
However, he was caught hiding behind a tree dressed in full military attire and, as a popular figure in the city, was instantly recognised.
The Genoa youth team coach and nephew of Giovanni De Pra, the club's finest ever goalkeeper, was suspended by the club, which said it had nothing to do with Friday's undercover operation.
"No director or member of the coaching staff sent Luca De Pra, goalkeeper coach for the youth team, to watch the training session at Bogliasco. It was a personal initiative," Genoa said in a statement on their website.
"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."
Sampdoria posted a picture of Mr De Pra caught in the act on their website.
"That the derby is a question of nerve, tactics and strategy we already knew, but that it could turn into a case of espionage - frankly we could never expect that," the club statement said.
It described the move as a "real secret mission ... a military action undertaken with appropriate outfit and equipment, camouflage outfit and mountain boots".
The statement continued: "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 he was tracked down and caught red-handed, the opposing side's soldier was let free to return to base.
"One should always forgive one's enemies, as nothing annoys them more."