The rise and rise of Napoli

There have been whispers in the last few weeks that SSC Napoli are in with a real chance of actually winning this season’s Serie A title. A month ago, a suggestion like that would’ve been laughed off.

But no longer.

The team from Naples, masterminded by 50 year-old Walter Mazzarri, currently sit three points behind AC Milan and have kept pace with Massimiliano Allegri’s league leaders the entire way through the season.

Napoli, who are the fourth most-supported side in the league, have started to show their title credentials in recent weeks with a series of impressive results and performances. Last weekend they completed a 2-0 away win against perennial title challengers Roma to record their first victory in the capital for more than 18 years.

Although the team boasts several talented players, it’s clear that the sublime form of Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani has been crucial in their push for the Scudetto.

Cavani, who is the Serie A’s top scorer with 20 goals, has won games on his own this season with vital goals coming against Juventus, Fiorentina and Palermo.

“The Matador” opened the scoring against Roma with a penalty and insists that his goals can fire his side to their first title in more than two decades.

“I want to become a champion, and hopefully it will be here at Napoli,” Cavani told Italian magazine Il Mattino.

“I am happy at this club and I would like to leave a mark by winning something unique.

“I would be happy if I could be part of Napoli’s history as a player who loved this shirt and made it even more prestigious.

“The coach really wanted me to be a centre-forward. This is my true position.”

Manager Walter Mazzarri also announced recently that Cavani was indispensable to the club and refused to be drawn on reports linking the hitman with Manchester City.

But it is not just Cavani who has contributed to the remarkable rise of the Partenopei.

Argentinian forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, Slovak playmaker Marek Hamsik, Italian midfielder Christian Maggio and influential captain Paolo Cannavaro have all played their part in producing some excellent results for the club.

And as Mazzarri pointed out – if Napoli can remain focused and consistent, then the Serie A title is well within their grasp.

Colin Stone


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