While now Europe’s most powerful clubs are looming over Napoli ready to entice their star players with promises of grandeur and success. The team from the peninsula almost ceased to exist, becoming a fond memory in the footnotes of Maradona’s career. Without the guidance of a film producer from the city itself, it could have been one of football’s most tragic stories.
Aurelio De Laurentiis re founded the club as Napoli Soccer after they were declared bankrupt in the august of 2004, subsequently changing it back to Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli in 2006. Although playing in Serie C the following season they still retained a higher average attendance than the majority of Serie A teams. Rather astoundingly, 51,000 supporters watched them in one game.
The fan’s good faith was rewarded as in just two seasons, they were back in top tier of Italian football. Five seasons on, the fourth highest supported club in Italy has achieved a third placed spot, in a season which at one point had the fans dreaming of their first Serie A title since the days of Maradona. Napoli were considered potential league champions as late as the spring, with only a poor run of results towards the back end of the season losing them ground on the race for the Scudetto.
The stable foundations laid by manager Walter Mazzarri have been supplemented with one of the most deadly front lines in world football. The signing of Edinson Cavani has proved a masterstroke, the Uruguayan always promised much in fit’s and start’s at Palermo. It’s undoubtedly in Naples though that he found his calling, netting 26 goals in 35 league games. Flanked by the likes of Hamsik and Lavezzi, the commanding striker has thrived on the considerable service thrown his way.
The biggest problem De Laurentiis faces now, is that on the horizon lies a summer of question’s surrounding his players future. Will the allure of the European elite prove too much for the likes of Cavani? One thing that is for sure, is that the Napoli chairman won’t be allowing any of his players to leave on the cheap, he’s been as quoted as saying “We are not a Supermarket. Perhaps you can describe us as fine jewellery store, but people are scared by our prices.”
De Laurentiis has expressed a desire to bring players to Napoli and sees an importance in Mazzari committing himself to the club.
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