Monday July 8 2019
'James not a Napoli player... yet'

Carlo Ancelotti admits James Rodriguez is ‘not a Napoli player yet’, ‘appreciates’ Mauro Icardi and ‘expects a captain’s attitude’ from Lorenzo Insigne.

Napoli officially began preseason on Monday at their retreat in Dimaro, and Ancelotti was inevitably asked about the South American duo at his opening Press conference.

“Napoli will have to compete with Inter and Juventus,” warned the Coach.

“They’ve both changed Coach, while we’re already known. It’ll be a Napoli in line with last season’s, but obviously we want to do more to improve.

“I’m convinced we’ll do better. We must be competitive and we’ll try to raise the bar so we win something. From a tactical point of view, there won’t be any big changes.

“The quality of our play is the basis of our idea. James Rodriguez would certainly add so much quality, but unfortunately he’s not a Napoli player yet.

“Maybe he never will be one, maybe he will. I don’t want to talk about players from other teams.

“We’re evaluating many opportunities on the market. We’re also looking for a midfielder, a player like Fabian, capable of playing in multiple positions and of his value.

“The only certainty is that I haven’t given the go-ahead for any sales. Maybe there are some players who want to change clubs, but they’ll be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Our idea is not to sell our best players.

The former Milan and Real Madrid boss expressed his excitement at pairing Kalidou Koulibaly with Kostas Manolas in a new-look central defence.

“Manolas and Koulibaly will be formidable together. Certainly the Greek will allow us to play differently, also relying on one-on-ones at the back, but I also take this opportunity to salute and thank Raul Albiol.”

The 60-year-old concluded with a stern message for Insigne.

“Insigne had a great start to last season but then dropped off in the second half. He’s our captain, so I expect a captain’s attitude from him.”

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