At the halfway mark of the Serie A 2025/26 season, Roberto di Lazaró had led his Sampdoria side to the top of the league and enjoyed a six-point lead over Inter Milan. That meant a first Scudetto since 1991 was within sight with 21 games remaining.
The impressive rise of Sampdoria saw them finish second in Serie A for a second successive season. They remained some way behind a dominant Inter but, with the full Football Manager 2022 now live, manager Roberto di Lazaró was keen to take a title fight to Nerazzurri in potentially a final season in Italy.
Despite going unbeaten through the first half of the 2024/25 campaign, Sampdoria went into the winter break somehow trailing Inter by five points - as the leaders had only failed to win twice and only conceded four goals in 17 games.
Sampdoria bid farewell to not one but two legends as the outrageously impressive Antonio Candreva and 46-year-old Gianluigi Buffon retired from football in the summer of 2024.
Roberto di Lazaró's Sampdoria side was once again defying expectations as they sat third in Serie A and were the competition's top scorers heading into 2024.
Sampdoria had massively exceeded all expectations by finishing in third in Serie A in 2022/23. However, season three was likely to be much more of a struggle as the club looked to balance competing in the Champions League with the league on a shoestring budget.
Sampdoria were performing well above expectations despite a massive overhaul of the playing squad in the summer of 2022. Moving into 2023, Blucerchiati sat second in Serie A as the league resumed following the silly Winter World Cup in Qatar.
Fledgling manager Roberto di Lazaró had guided Sampdoria to a 10th place finish in Serie A in 2021/22. However, that had largely been inspired by the goals of a 19-year-old striker so much work was needed in the summer transfer window to strengthen the squad.
Sampdoria had made a solid yet wholly unspectacular start to life with Roberto di Lazaró, sitting firmly in mid-table and struggling to score goals heading into 2022.