Football: Naples crowned Italian champions for the first time since 1990 and the Maradona era

This time, it's done

Football: Naples crowned Italian champions for the first time since 1990 and the Maradona era

This time, it's done. Four days after postponing the party, at home against Salernitana, SCC Napoli did not miss their chance a second time. The Neapolitan club won Thursday, May 4, the third title of Italian champion in its history, after its draw on the lawn of Udinese (1-1). His first coronation since the era of Diego Maradona (1987 and 1990).

The day before, the players of the club chaired by the volcanic Aurelio De Laurentiis had followed the progress of the meeting between Lazio Rome, their only pursuer, and Sassuolo from their hotel. A defeat of the Biancocelesti and Naples was sacred. But the Romans, led by former Neapolitan coach Maurizio Sarri, did not fail (2-0 victory), and left striker Victor Osimhen's partners the task of winning their Scudetto in Friuli (northeast of the country).

In Udine, facing this opponent comfortably established in the soft underbelly of Serie A (13th), Napoli only needed one point to secure the title. Despite the opening of the mark by Udinese, the men of Luciano Spalletti have won a draw with which they will be satisfied, and are crowned champions five days from the end of the championship. A precocity record, where they equal four teams (Torino in 1948, Fiorentina in 1956, Inter Milan in 2007 and Juventus in 2019).

After having stored drums, trumpets, and brought down the volcanic atmosphere at the foot of Vesuvius, cooled by the equalization at the very end of the match (1-1) of their neighbor Salernitan – at the other end of the Amalfi coast –, Sunday, April 30, the partners of the twirling Georgian Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, 22, did not miss their second "match point" on Thursday.

"Something out of the ordinary"

More than 16,000 Neapolitan tifosi had traveled the more than 800 kilometers from the Bay of Naples to Udine – and 4,000 of them had no tickets – in the hope of celebrating Napoli's third Scudetto with their idols . The first not to bear the seal of the Argentinian Diego Maradona, "king" of Naples at the crossroads of the 1980s and 1990s, and who died in October 2020. In the wake of the brilliant "Pibe de oro", Naples, city downgraded from the South, had put Italy on its toes in 1987 and 1990.

Anticipating the party, all the club's players – including the injured – made the trip. On the other hand, the Neapolitan president - who is Roman by origin, which poses a concern for the fiery tifosi of the city with 500 domes -, Aurelio De Laurentiis has chosen not to follow his team, and to remain in Naples.

For the occasion, the Diego-Maradona stadium had opened its doors to supporters. In less than two hours, the 54,000 tickets put on sale were sold to attend the match for the third Neapolitan title in the venerable enclosure, and in front of eight giant screens installed for the occasion. Against five euros – to reimburse the organizational costs, the rest being donated to charity – the fans were able to communicate remotely with their players.

Before the meeting, Luciano Spalletti had recognized the uniqueness of the season for his club. “In my opinion, this Scudetto here, if it were to happen, is something out of the ordinary. It is an event whose benefits are not only for the club, or the city of Naples, but for all those involved in this system, "said the Neapolitan coach at a press conference. Without Maradona, but carried by a motley squad of young players who were mostly little known before the start of the season, his men gave their city an unexpected triumph.

For the first time since 2001 and the coronation of AS Roma, the title of Italian champion leaves the north of the country. In 2023, the clubs of Milan, the economic capital, or Juventus of Turin, team of Fiat bosses, the Agnelli family, did not continue their hold on the trophy. The Scudetto – the crest in Italian colors which adorns the jersey of the winner of the previous season – returns to the South, to the delight of the millions of Neapolitans who have prepared to descend on the city in jubilation.