Pierpaolo Marino reveals he almost brought Robert Lewandowski and Luka Modric to Napoli, but quit after President Aurelio De Laurentiis demanded a half-time substitution.
Marino is now a pundit, but was the director general of Napoli from 2004 to 2009.
“I had five wonderful years there, but then the club owner decided he wanted to be a manager and Coach too,” Marino told Tuttosport.
“De Laurentiis got me to sign a new five-year contract with bonus for all I had done. Then we went to play Inter in September 2009 and all hell broke loose…
“The President had already started making decisions without consulting me, such as hiring Roberto Donadoni. We were 2-0 down at half-time at San Siro, so De Laurentiis bursts into the dressing room and shouts: ‘Coach, take Morgan De Sanctis off right now and let Iezzo play! And you, Marino, how could you sign someone like De Sanctis?’
“This all happened in front of the players, me, Donadoni who signalled not to answer back in order to avoid further problems.
“Donadoni did not substitute the goalkeeper, we ended up losing 2-1, but at the end of the game I handed in my resignation.”
Marino was asked if he had any regrets from his time at the Stadio San Paolo.
“I have a few. I could’ve brought Lewandowski to Napoli and I came very close to doing it. The same goes for Modric. The biggest mistake I made was signing Erwin Hoffer, because he couldn’t understand a word we were saying and utterly failed to settle in.”
Hoffer is an Austrian centre-forward, now 31 and still active, who Napoli purchased from Rapid Vienna for €5m in the summer of 2009.
He made only 11 competitive appearances for the Partenopei, scoring one goal.