Lorenzo Insigne eyes Europa League glory with Napoli and wants to stay “for a long time, but I could receive an offer I can’t refuse. It irritates me to be left empty-handed.”
The local lad who took over the captaincy from Marek Hamsik spoke to the Corriere dello Sport newspaper and his comments have caused a great deal of controversy, although he tried to clarify them in depth.
“There is more pressure on me, compared to other players, because people expect something more from a Neapolitan at Napoli. At times, that responsibility is an energising force with positive effects, but there are moments when it can be counter-productive and therefore negative.
“We are not machines, remember that, so an off period is inevitable.”
Insigne was asked if he could see himself in a different club jersey, especially as he will be 28 years old next season.
“Right now, in this phase, I am not even thinking about it. However, I know full well that there are those around who appreciate me. But there are no clubs, no approaches, no shows of interest.
“It is my duty to think, without being immodest, that over the years at Napoli I’ve shown what I can do. I know people think I hired Mino Raiola because I was looking for a move, but that is not true, and you are free to think that. I hired Raiola because I consider him to be, along with Jorge Mendes, the best around and a real authority.
“As long as I am at Napoli, I will always give 110 per cent and I want to stay here for a long time. I also know that I am 28 years old and it can happen, over the course of a career, to receive an offer I can’t refuse. This could happen, yes.
“It irritates me to always arrive on the verge of success and then find myself empty-handed, without a trophy to raise to the sky. This irritates my teammates too, as this Napoli side is so strong and deserves that moment of satisfaction.”
That could change with the Europa League, as they are in the quarter-final against Arsenal and Insigne is fighting to be fit for the first leg.
“I expect to face an Arsenal side with so much quality that I couldn’t choose which is the best. They’ll have tempo, intensity and tactical organisation.
“We have two complicated games ahead of us and then, if we get there, the semi-finals. It won’t be easy, but we are not afraid. If anything, it’s our mad wish.”
The Scudetto, however, could be in Juventus hands as early as tomorrow if they beat Milan and Napoli lose to Genoa.
“Yet we are right behind them again and that has to mean something,” continued Insigne. “Juve did even better than in the past, as all their opponents, including Napoli, dropped too many points.
“However, I would add that if you look back at the pre-season predictions, people thought we’d finish fifth or sixth. Yet we are second again.
“Juventus win titles because they never get it wrong, other than maybe once a season, like the defeat to Genoa. That is a quality that the others are lacking.
“Losing the Scudetto last season was a difficult wound to heal, because we really believed, we could’ve done it and that hurts. It’s like Italy going out of the World Cup against Sweden, these are the moments of pain that I carry within me. It was as if in those moments the world collapsed around me.”
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