The last such success came at the Neapolitan club 33 years ago, when legendary Argentinian Diego Armando Maradona, dubbed the ‘King of Naples’ after that triumph, led them to victory in Serie A.
The stadium is named after him, where nearly 54,000 fans gathered to watch the Udine broadcast on video screens on Thursday. Thousands more surrounded the stadium and brandished blue smoke bombs. At least 13,000 Napoli supporters traveled over eight hundred kilometers to Udine, hoping to finally celebrate their hometown club’s early victory in the league. The car journey took at least eight hours.
Today Napoli have new heroes – head coach Luciano Spalletti, who led Zenit to victory in the Russian championship, “the Georgian magician”, 22-year-old Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who recently played in Kazan ” Rubin”, the Nigerian striker Victor Osimkhen, leading in the list of scorers, moreover, without a single penalty being scored.
“Kvara” and “Vitya”, who have become friends and the main strike force of “Napoli”, are the main contenders for the title of best player in the Italian championship this season. They were the ones who ignited their teammates and the southern Italian city’s loyal fans with their spirit.
Hvicha, whose transfer fee amounted to 75 million euros, is claimed by four European giants, including Real Madrid. His contract with Napoli runs until 2027.
On San Gregorio Armeno, the famous street of artisans in Naples, statuettes of football players have appeared: some masters have captured the entire Naples team, including the figurine of coach Spalletti. And, of course, Victor Osimhen in his indispensable black mask after a broken nose.
An incessant chorus in support of azzurri, smoke bombs and waved flags. The way they get sick in Naples, they don’t get sick anywhere in Italy, and, maybe, in Europe. Here about Maradona, who has become celestial, we sing more often than in Argentina.
Color “Napoli” – blue. The mood color of his fans is blue. Thousands of people gathered in front of the Maradona stadium waving blue flags. All of Naples turned blue on Thursday night.
- We will win the tricolor (the title of football champions – editor’s note), – sang tens of thousands of supporters in the stadium, the crowd massed on the square of the Spanish Quarter in front of the mural of Maradona on Via Emanuele de Deo: a giant painting by Pibe de Oro, painted in 1990, when Napoli won their second Scudetto. And the traditional refrain “I saw Maradona, I saw Maradona! Oh, mom, I’m in love.” There are still a few weeks before the possible conquest of the third championship, but the fans believed in it so much that they had already started tattooing the winner of the Scudetto, writes Ilmattino.
“Thank you guys”, “Naples, I love you”, “Naples – 3 (title)” – banners appeared on each balcony. And the car horns join the fans. The city celebrates a victory that did not become forced. She had been expected since the beginning of the year, when Naples began to win over middle peasants, outsiders and recognized authorities in Serie A, charming the Apennines and supporters outside the peninsula.
p class=””>At the stadium named after the god of football, in anticipation of the match, the frenzy began. 54,000 spectators sang and danced, electrified by the atmosphere of the upcoming championship. In addition to the usual two, eight giant screens were installed in the stadium, and in the center of the field there was a huge blue tarpaulin, on which there was a large letter N and the words “Naples, May 4, 2023”.
Lots of flags, lights went out and that Gigi D’Alessio song “Marado’ Marado” started playing. The host quickly spoke the names of the players as if they were going to play on site, according to leading Italian sports publication Carrera dello Sport. Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis stayed in Naples, was with fans at the stadium, where the sale of bottled drinks was banned. They could only be dispensed in lightweight plastic or paper cups. The Municipality of Naples has issued a decree according to which, three hours before the event and until two hours after, a ban on the sale of drinks in glasses has been introduced, except for table service.
Thousands of people awaited the triumph outside the gates of the Maradona stadium. Many families and many children. Flags and sashes, plus trumpets and blue confetti. Everyone chanted the refrain that has become the mantra for the past few months: “I will be with you and you must not give up, we have a dream in our hearts, Napoli are back as champions.” There were very few cars in the city, many residents gathered around the Fuorigrotta district in Naples, which was blocked by the police for several hours. However, many decided to congregate at the Lungomare di Naples and Piazza del Plebiscito. The game was followed here, as in the last century: by radio.
In the 13th minute, thunder struck: “Udinese” took the lead. The holidays have been postponed. “Napoli” fans in Udine calmed down a bit. Dead silence reigned in Napoli and the stadium only came alive when the ball was put back into play. And then the usual game for Napoli began: yaw around the opposition penalty area. Spalletti on the sidelines pensively wrote something in his notebook.
And in the 52nd minute, they did. After a corner, Khvicha kicked in and Osimhen finished the ball which flew from the goalkeeper into the net. The striker’s 22nd league goal. For the first time since the injury. In Naples, at the call of the announcer, the stadium repeated the Nigerian’s name nine times and sang: “We are going to win the tricolor”.
94 minutes. The game is over. 1-1. Napoli are champions. They will lift the winners’ cup in the 38th round in the home game against Sampdoria.
And then the madness began. The players built a heap in Udine. Spalletti wanted to hug all the fans who poured into the arena. Hundreds. Including the legendary “Sombrero”, an elderly fan, hanged with garlic to chase the forces of evil from Naples.
Napoli fans were screaming, sobbing, clapping their hands, making phone calls. From the same blue tarp, surrounded by stewards, a flurry of fireworks was launched at the Maradona stadium. In Naples came the long night of rejoicing awaited for 33 years. And behind all this madness of roars and cries of happy people, fireworks, firecrackers, car horns from somewhere in heaven, with his famous smile, the great Diego Armando Maradona watched.
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