Napoli’s greatest ever player, Diego Maradona, has shared his thoughts on the club’s current position as they chase their first Scudetto since he left in 1991.
The side from Naples have enjoyed a stellar season so far, and have only just been displaced from the top of Serie A by Juventus after the team’s clashed in the middle of February.
After the match which Juventus narrowly won 1-0, El Diego felt that the Turin side’s greater variety of squad depth gives them the advantage in the title race:
[Napoli coach Maurizio] Sarri is handling everything well, however, you see that on the field there are tired players. When they [Juventus] needed some intervention, the fifth Juventus striker enters and impacts.
The big difference is those who are on the bench. Allegri has a great variety, Sarri instead must plug the holes.
After initially being dismissive of Sarri, the former Argentina Number 10 has been pleasantly surprised by the coach, but believes that some minor adjustments to the team should be made:
I respect him [Sarri] a lot, he’s created a team that plays good football. I really like Koulibaly as Allan, but who makes me mad is Mertens: he dribbles, he can play with the team and has a good shot from distance. Sarri should use him more.
Insigne, however, must be the protagonist, he must command the attack of Napoli because his movement opens up all the defences.
Maradona also responded to the news of Insigne being mugged in the city of Naples:
The robbery? In my day there was more respect for us players.
The final topic of discussion was that of Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis. Napoli’s legendary fantasista has often been linked with having an official role at the club he inspired to two Serie A titles, however, he revealed whilst there are often rumours of such an offer, nothing ever materialises:
I would like to come to Naples always, the problem is that someone says he wants to talk to me and then does not do it…I hope he is not like Ferlaino [Napoli’s former president] was, hiding.
If I can do something for the club, I will do it willingly. In the newspapers I read that De Laurentiis wants to talk to me, but then when I meet him he is dumb. I met him several times recently, but I was never asked to be an emblem of Naples, internationally.
I cannot talk about becoming the coach because there is Sarri, but before him I wanted to be the coach of the team. If that would have been the case I would do it to win everything, asking for guarantees to have a truly competitive team before signing.
Diego also weighed in on the president’s recent off-hand remarks about Napoli’s top scorer, Gonzalo Higuain, of whom he said should lose weight:
I’m on the side of Higuain, without any doubt. The President may speak a lot about movies, actors and actresses but it’s up to Sarri to speak about the players. You cannot step on the toes of the coach, otherwise things do not go well. De Laurentiis can also give his thoughts, but privately, not publicly before a game.
Would Diego rather have Higuain, who’s top of the Serie A goalscoring charts with 27 so far, or the striker who graced his team – the Brazilian Antonio Careca?
Antonio would make 35 goals in this team!