Kuala Lumpur Post


Spalletti dedicates Napoli’s championship to fans who waited 33 years

NAPLES — Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti broke down in tears after his side claimed their long-awaited third Serie A title with a 1-1 draw against Udinese yesterday and explained that it is the fans who deserve this joy the most after 33 years of waiting.

“Seeing the Partenopei smiling and happy is the biggest emotion for me. They are the ones who transmit their happiness,” Spalletti told DAZN after the match.

“There are people here who will now be able to overcome difficult moments in their lives because they remember this moment. These people deserve all the joy.”

The 64-year-old Italian, who has become the oldest coach to win the Scudetto, allowed his players to thrive by moving away from traditional tactics after a swift rebuild in the final stretch of the season.

“I hear coaches say this is only our third season together, but the pressure is to win… (Rafa) Benitez, (Carlo) Ancelotti, (Maurizio) Sarri with the best football in Italy, (Gennaro) Gattuso who won the Coppa Italia have gone through (this team), so what am I coming here for? I can’t say we want to avoid relegation. We have to win.

“These fans have seen great coaches come and go. They saw Diego Armando Maradona play and maybe his protection is also felt in this success,” he added.

Spalletti also dedicated this triumph to his staff, his family and his brother who passed away four years ago.

The southern Italian city of Naples erupted in celebrations after Spalletti’s side clinched the title, and the players will continue the festivities in the city today. — Reuters