Lorenzo Insigne claims it “annoys” him when Napoli are accused of being all style but no substance but vows “to stay as long as possible”.
Napoli are widely regarded as the best, ball-playing team in Italy but have not won any silverware under Maurizio Sarri, while Insigne’s future has come under the microscope following links with super-agent Mino Raiola.
“No 10? It’s Maradona’s shirt number and the club have retired it,” he continued to AS.”
I respect Diego, who’s our legend, and the club’s decision. I’m also happy to have the 24.
“I met him a few months ago, it was like a dream coming true. He’s the best ever: I had a picture with him, and asked him how he was.
“It filled me with pride. I hope so many other young Neapolitans can experience this emotion.
“I started playing football because my friend’s father brought my brother and his friends to play. I went to see them and started crying.
“They said I was too small, but I insisted that they made me enter the pitch.
“Coaches? Zeman liked me at Foggia and Pescara. It’s true that you work hard with him, but I really did.
“At Napoli, with Mazzarri, I played for a place [in the team] with Vargas at the start, and I eventually found space.
“On the other hand, it’s thanks to Benitez that I learned so much in the defensive side of the game, which is crucial to my role.
“With Sarri, I’m happy. We’ve done great in our two seasons together. If we’ve got so high, it’s thanks to him. He taught us so much.
“If he ever leaves Napoli, it’ll be for a top club. I have no doubts about that.
“Role models? Del Piero was my idol. I’ve always admired him as a person and player. Obviously, being Neapolitan, I liked the team he played for less!
“As a child, I tried to shoot like him and copy him. Now, however, I have to be a bit different. The goalkeepers are getting used to [Del Piero’s style].
“In today’s football, I try to use Messi as inspiration. He’s the best after Maradona: I like to watch his touch of the ball and how he runs with it.
“Napoli’s style? We also have fun in training. We have a style of play that is similar to that of Spain or Guardiola’s teams, but we still have to win.
“We got tired of listening to people saying we were playing well but didn’t win anything. It annoyed me!
“We mustn’t throw away any chances this season. We all understand [what we have to do].
“I want to win something with Napoli, qualify for the World Cup with Italy and pick up a great deal of experience.
“Manchester City? It’ll be a great match and we’re happy: we like to play against the big teams. They have so many champions, but we’re not any worse off.
“Me being the Totti of Napoli? This jersey is my dream, I’ve always said that. I want to stay here as long as possible, but you never know in football.
“The market has gone mad, so maybe the President gets an absurd offer and decides to sell me!
“I’m very calm. I’ve just renewed my contract and I’m only thinking about playing with Napoli’s jersey.”
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