Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis “fears nobody” in the Europa League, doubts Maurizio Sarri will last at Chelsea and insists Juventus success is pointless with “€200m debts.”
The fiery patron spoke to Sky Sport Italia after the draw pitted them against RB Salzburg in the Round of 16.
“Napoli fear nobody in the Europa League, as we have consolidated our status in Europe now. We’ve been playing in Europe for nine years, are not timid and have a great Coach like Carlo Ancelotti who will be able to guide us towards the summit.
“We have been fairly fortunate in the draw, as we’ll get to experience a beautiful city like Salzburg, not to mention the team is perhaps easier to face than some of the others.
“If we should reach the Final in Baku, then that’d be fun to take part in. There’s no point making predictions now and we don’t want to bring bad luck, so let’s take it one game at a time.”
Chelsea are also in the Europa League and aiming for the Final, but De Laurentiis snipes at his old Coach Sarri.
“It would be fun to play Chelsea in the Final, assuming of course that Sarri can hang on that long… I hope he does stay there and do very well, because Sarri loves his work to the point of madness. At times this can lead him to lose his temper, but that is to be respected.
“Sarri gave a great deal to Napoli. Some might not always be able to share his vision of football, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses, otherwise we would not be human.”
While they are through to the last 16 of the Europa League, Napoli are 13 points adrift of Serie A leaders Juventus and attendances have plummeted.
“There is this habitual sensation of the fans being disappointed in the stadium. We’ll fight to the end. If someone crumbles at the first hurdle, then he is a failure in life. If he doesn’t want to be a failure, he keeps fighting to the end. It’s not just who finishes first that wins. We all win if we play with capability and fervour.
“I mean, if I had created a €200m debt with the banks to sign one player, what would be the point in winning? Let’s think of the right recipe for success, here.”
The Bianconeri spent €100m to buy Cristiano Ronaldo, plus a €30m per year salary, yet seem to be on the verge of a Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16.