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Serie A: Warum die SSC Neapel nach dem Meistertitel in Italien greift

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Status: 01/16/2023 07:24 a.m

SSC Napoli dominates Serie A. Luciano Spalletti’s team leads the table after the weekend with a nine-point lead. Italy is enthusiastic, not only about the success of the Neapolitans – but above all about the kind of football that the SSC plays. The country’s sports press speaks of “La grande bellezza”.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome

Now they really believe in Naples. And say it openly. In Naples! The capital of superstition, where one immediately touches iron or forms the hand with the index and little finger into the horn sign to prevent wishes from bursting when openly expressed. But now, in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, they sang from tens of thousands of voices: “We win the championship”. With fervent emphasis on the last word.

Serie A, 18th day of play right arrow Naples ecstatic football Italy

The intoxicating 5-1 win over Juventus Turin has changed the mood in Naples. A reporter from “Gazzetta dello Sport” reports: In the city on Vesuvius, people are currently not greeting each other with the usual “Come stai?” (How are you) but with a smiling “cinqueauno” (five-to-one). The spectacular appearance of the “Partenopei” against Juve delighted football in Italy – and SSC Naples dares to dream. Or to admit how strong you are this season.

“With this win,” said coach Luciano Spalletti, “we sent a message to ourselves.” That you are now the top team in Italy, no ifs or buts. “We ourselves always had doubts as to whether we were really at this level,” says the 63-year-old. Against Juventus, his team gave the answer, “played with open eyes” and showed that there was no longer any reason for self-doubt.

The record of the weekend could not be better for SSC Napoli. Potential closest pursuers AC Milan stumbled with a draw at newcomers Lecce. Napoli now have a nine-point lead over Milan, ten over Juventus and Inter.

In the past season, the southern Italians have already indicated what they can do at times. Until November, they led the table for several game days. But then came a slump, so that Napoli ended up only in third place. Now it’s a different story.

A natural dominance

The win against Juventus was arguably the watershed of the season. Here Naples, there the rest of Serie A. Because the 5-1 was impressive. Even more impressive was how it was achieved by the Spalletti team. With a natural dominance, with an unshakable belief in your own game idea, even in difficult phases.

An appearance and an (offensive) football philosophy that leads “Gazzetta” Edelfeder Luigi Garlando to compare the current Napoli team with Ajax Amsterdam Johan Cruyffs, Milan Arrigo Sacchis and Barcelona Pep Guardiolas. Stripping that of the country’s usual penchant for enthusiasm, that leaves an idea of ​​what Naples has to offer this season. Also in the Champions League, where SSC scored the most goals of all teams in the competition in the preliminary round, Ajax Amsterdam conceded four and six goals per game, Liverpool four and Glasgow Rangers twice three.

The Great Beauty

The whole thing in a style of play that not only the Corriere dello Sport in Italy calls “La grande bellezza”, the great beauty. Based on the title of the Oscar-winning film by Neapolitan director Paolo Sorrentino, who is also an ardent SSC Naples supporter. And by the way, he also shot an epic about Diego Maradona and his personal destiny that is linked to it. Maradona and la grande bellezza. Coach Spalletti said in a rather rare touch of great pathos for him as a native of Tuscany: In a stadium named after Maradona, a team is almost obliged to play good football.

Maradona and again and again Maradona. That’s how it is in Naples. And the current team certainly stands up to comparison with the team from the golden era of the SSC. Perhaps what the Spalletti team is currently doing deserves even more credit. The teams back then with Maradona, Careca, Giordano, Carnevale and Co. consisted of players who, as established top stars, were lured to Naples with billions of lire.

The star is the team

The top performers of the current team only became stars in Naples. How Victor Osimhen, who failed in Wolfsburg, is now the top scorer in Serie A, needs an average of just 96 minutes to score and above all reliably scores the decisive goals in the very important games.

Like Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the Georgian George Best whom Napoli scouted in the depths of the Russian league and who is now one of the towering Serie A players. Like the Slovak Stanislav Lobotka, who was still playing for FC Nordsjælland a few years ago and is now in defensive midfield at the highest level in the game of the Serie A leaders. Nevertheless, the star is the team, something else would not let Luciano Spalletti get away.

The fact that this team could bring the title back to Naples after the last championship in 1990 has been more than just a dream since the weekend. In 33 AD that would fit. Also for Neapolitan superstitions. The 33 is considered a lucky number and in the traditional Neapolitan raffle stands for: the years of life of Jesus Christ and – true love.

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