Wednesday November 13 2019
No winners at Napoli

When the club, players, coach and fans are all feuding, Marcello Cossali-Francis sees no positive way out of this mess for Napoli.

Politics and Italian football often go hand-in-hand and right now at Napoli, issues off the pitch are threatening to completely derail the current squad, with President Aurelio De Laurentiis at the forefront of everything.

Napoli’s woes on the pitch had led to a scheduled week-long training camp, which De Laurentiis had ordered, only for players to dismiss the camp completely and return to their homes following the Champions League draw with RB Salzburg last week.

Since then, many of the senior players have been linked with a move away from the club amid the chaos, Carlo Ancelotti seems to have fallen out with the board and De Laurentiis is threatening to fine or even sue the squad. Even more alarming, vandalism incidents struck several players, leading to suggestions the ultras are staging retaliation attacks.

So the players, club, coach and fans are all extremely irritated with each other to varying degrees and it is turning into a giant blame game. What happens now?

Napoli released the statement saying that the club will “do everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests.” A media silence has also been announced, meaning no statements will be made for the time being until this issue has been resolved.

Lorenzo Insigne and De Laurentiis’ relationship seems to have broken down, the same with Ancelotti and the President, despite the club saying they fully back Ancelotti to deal with the current situation. All of this, obviously, is bound to have an impact on the pitch and Napoli’s 0-0 draw with Genoa at the weekend added fuel to the fire.

The title now looks, already, out of reach, and trying to get back into the mix for the top four looks doable, but the challenge is a big one, especially given how impressive the likes of Inter, Lazio and even Cagliari have been. Napoli have just five wins out of their 12 rounds and are without a win in five matches across all competitions.

The Partenopei are now 13 points behind league leaders Juventus, five off the top four and three from Roma, who occupy the final Europa League place. Given that Napoli have been Juve’s main competitor for the last few years, and how fancied they were to compete again, this season is now looking bleak.

This is now an incredibly crucial moment in Napoli’s season and what happens over the next few weeks could well impact the club for the foreseeable future. A kiss and make-up is needed, but all the noises make that seem a little out of the question right now, especially when you consider that all parties are currently at each other’s throats. The fan protest outside the training session last week showed that fans are not happy with the players and the talk now suggests that the likes of Insigne, Jose Callejon, Allan and Dries Mertens could all leave in January. To make matters worse, Mertens and Callejon will be out of contract at the end of the season, so could be forced into a January sale to avoid losing them for free.

If Napoli are already struggling to get back into the top four, imagine how they’d fare when losing those stars mid-season?

De Laurentiis and the management team have to get together now and figure out a way to resolve this issue. The international break has probably come at the right time for Napoli, with players being able to get away from the toxic environment that has built up in the last week and will also give the club’s top figures a chance to assess their next move.

One thing that can help is winning football matches. Napoli travel to Milan next in the league, a side who are having their own troubles, and three points would go some way to help ease the fears around the club.

The biggest worry about this whole affair is that everyone will come out of it having lost. There can be no winner in this situation. A victory for De Laurentiis would mean selling half the squad to prove a point. Success for the players would be undermining the club and their coach. The fans want their loyalty repaid, yet their behaviour will scare off both the current players and anyone considering coming to Napoli. Ancelotti visibly looks like he just wants to get out of this madhouse and work somewhere less stressful, like Real Madrid or Manchester United.

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Have your say...
Napoli has been very unlucky this season, or perhaps unskilled
Their failure to finish, ie: scoring goals near the net has been a major problem.
All of the scorers( Insigne, Mertens, Zielenski, Callejon, Milik, Lozano )haven't been finishing well. Hitting posts, overshooting, missing easy openings, shooting wide etc, have made a big difference in many games. Great players finish, thats what makes them great especially in a low scoring sport like football, a team most make the most of opportunity
on the 22nd November, 2019 at 4:38pm
Gino Esposito,it's been years since I heard anything about Calcipoli here, thanks for bringing that up for the young among us, who really need to know that football in Italy is at the image of how the country is, and has been run since at least the end of the Kingdom of Naples, and the arrival of the Masonic Republic, who are the culprits, and where does the deep rooted hatred against Naples, and Neapolitan's come from, Calciopoli was a big failure, otherwise we won't be here discussing it
on the 17th November, 2019 at 5:21am
@ United States of Totti

great points mate!

Trust me Calcipoli 2 will appear soon - Italy is corrupt from Government to Football!

Agnelli/FIAT family control all the referees who they sponsor too!

You would of thought that the first Calciopoli would of taught Rubentus a lesson but ''a leopard doesn't change its spots''
on the 15th November, 2019 at 3:17pm

Every handball on one side is a penalty ("Arm was too far away.")
Every handball on other side isn't (" It wasn't THAT FAR...")

Same goes for fouls, yellow cards,

Of course,
Their fans don't see that.
Inter fans even attack Juve which is hilarious as Inter receives the same "Juve treatment"!
They bicker about Ron's penalty yet defend Lautaro's.
Go & watch Inter-Juve game.
If anything, ref was on Inter's side
on the 15th November, 2019 at 12:13pm
I wasn't clear in my rant...


They just get DIFFERENT TREATMENT because they're fighting for top.
(It happens in every league, Real-Barca, etc...)

There's now so much
around these two that refs are affraid of bad calls/ consequences.
They think twice before any decision & if it's 50-50%, even 60-40% decision, it goes Inter/ Juve way.
Every touch on one side is a penalty ("There was CONTACT."),
& on other side is not ("There was NOT ENOUGH contact.")
on the 15th November, 2019 at 12:00pm
Eh! They go from beating Liverpool to 'crisis.' Typical! They have been unlucky but a few things have stood out! What's happened to their fan base? They do still get decent crowds like about 40.000 v Brescia but sometimes it looks to be about 1/3 full! Why not lower ticket prices. They'd still make a similar profit n its gotta help the club n plyrs when the crowd's decent! Maybe ADL who's done fantastic there so I say this with all due respect has taken them as far as he can n maybe should sell!
on the 14th November, 2019 at 10:28pm
(For Sanchez Samp expulsion:
I thought that wasn't a penalty,
but also not a second yellow...
But ater seeing player's reaction it was obvious he knew that he dived.)

Every touch & fall for Inter/ Juve is a penalty!
Afterwards: "Look into rulebook-- There was "CONTACT"!"


But then...
Make Piatek, Mertens, Chiesa, Zaniolo DIVES penalties as well!

& don't get me started on YELLOW CARDS
--These accumulate & hamper teams later, you know!

Pino is right.
I rather lose then win like that.
on the 14th November, 2019 at 7:13pm
When I say "bad calls":

It seemed that every handball was a handball...

But not for De Ligt.
That boy can do whatever he wants.
"Shot was only two meters away from him!"
"He was falling!"
"He was looking other way!"

Look at almost ANY HANDBALL PENALTY given in Serie A
--Players are always "close to action"!

Look at Lazio-Lecce handball:
Wasn't he falling?
Wasn't he 30 cm close to action?

Where was Nichi defending this decision?
Where was FI & other media, listing "handball rules"?
on the 14th November, 2019 at 6:54pm
@ Gino Esposito,

You are exaggerating, but 100% right.

Napoli also started the season as one of the 3 betting horses, so even got "Juve treatment" in first game for that INCREDIBLE Mertens penalty dive...

But now,
No more privileges
--They are only reserved for Juve & Inter.

Italy (media, refs, fans...) want a fight for first place so bad, that they're actually destroying it.
More teams would be higher up the table if EVERYONE would get the same treatment.
(The same RIGHT calls & BAD calls!)
on the 14th November, 2019 at 6:42pm
This was supposed to be Napoli's year, to put pressure on Conte & Sarri who'd surely falter.

Now it's other way around:
Napoli play GREAT, create so many shots & seemingly hit framework 3 TIMES each game..!
Yet don't win.
Motivation & hype are falling.
Ritiros, unfavourable ref decisions, declining play...

While Juve & Inter grow, winning even when they shouldn't.
Favourable ref decisions, pushing hype of their fans...

They will only get better, particularly Inter.

Motivation does wonders.
on the 14th November, 2019 at 6:21pm
This was supposed to be Napoli's year, to put pressure on Conte & Sarri who'd surely falter.

Now it's other way around:
Napoli play GREAT, create so many shots & seemingly hit framework 3 TIMES each game..!
Yet don't win.
Motivation & hype are falling.
Ritiros, unfavourable ref decisions, declining play...

While Juve & Inter grow, winning even when they shouldn't.
Favourable ref decisions, pushing hype of their fans...

They will only get better, particularly Inter.

Motivation does wonders.
on the 14th November, 2019 at 6:21pm
The italian media are all saying 'Napoli Crisis', Ancelotti has lost the changing room.

Lets be honest here - Napoli have had a minimum of 9 points taken away from them due to corrupt refereeing.

You only have to look at the Atalanta game and the llorente incident to conclude what a fake league Seria A is.

Rubentus on the other hand have been given additional 10 points with all the dubious decisions in their favour almost every other game.
on the 14th November, 2019 at 3:34pm
Actually, with Milan vs. Napoli I wish both teams win.
on the 14th November, 2019 at 10:03am
De Laurentis as well as too many owners are too outspoken, and too hands on. De Laurentis lost sarri, higuain, now ancelotti and the team. Lets face it, none of this needed to have happened, and especially not in the way it has. Napoli have not lived up to their potential, maybe that is Ancelottis fault and maybe not. But there is a way to do things right and then there is whatever the hell De Laurentis is doing. Breaking things before its been given a chance to fix itself.
on the 14th November, 2019 at 12:07am
Wouldn't it just be typical Italian if this mess ruins their very strong CL qualifying position?

It's amazing how often Italian teams are in "crisis". In fact, Napoli have been relatively settled over the years, but it seems they've now caught the Milan and Inter bug.

They only need a win or 2 draws to be sure of qualification from their group. But suddenly that looks a bit shaky, even with Gent to come at home.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 10:15pm
De Laurentis is an astute & shrewd businessman who took a team that went bankrupt 15 years ago to now refusing an offer of 560 million - that does not happen overnight by accident. Every team runs their cycle like inter after the treble, AC Milan after their last scudetto etc.. the idea is to recognize it quickly so you don't make idiotic panic buys like 30 mill for Gabi-one-Gol, 45 mill for Joao Mario, 40 mill for Kondogbia. If ADL does that and gets ancelotti what he needs they can try to win!
on the 13th November, 2019 at 9:57pm
While Carlito is definitely some kind of legend, you can't think that he's managing a squad that he truly understands. He's been desperatly trying to transform natural wingers (Insigne and Callejon) to left and right midfielders, and now seems determined to puzzle Lozano into a strange role that simply doesn't suit him. José was among the best old school wingers, furiously charging that far post on crosses. Insigne only had to cut inside, throw a couple of crosses or long shots. I don't get it.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 4:09pm
When I think of Napoli as a curve, I can definitely identify some sort of peak point after which there's been nothing but tactical decline. It's the 31st minute of a UCL clash against Manchester City on November 17 2017. Faouzi Ghoulam limped off the pitch to be replaced by the almighty Christian Maggio. City had barely touched the ball. Lack of depth was exposed and that mighty left flank (Ghoulam, Hamsik, Insigne) became any left flank. Sarri still refers to that moment has his own peak.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 4:04pm
@CG Better to lose every single year than cheat and win like Juve, Inter, and Milan ;)
on the 13th November, 2019 at 3:36pm
I really like ADL as idealist and on that account proven succesful. But a mid budget team have to be so careful in selling and buying esp. selling. Look what a team it was.... every single position was clicked and jelled hard. Ghoulam gone injured hysaj gone under scrutiny albiol aged up jorginho sold allan lost his both midfield partners rog zielinsky ruiz being scrambled into it players are played out of position and napolis firepowers fuzed along with a rebel leader insigne. Poor from him....
on the 13th November, 2019 at 1:16pm
If they had only managed to keep Sarri...
on the 13th November, 2019 at 12:42pm
CG you're an idiot! How is Napoli a provincial club when it is a large city and capital of the Campania region? They earned being in the top four year in year out by winning games in style and doing the city proud. Whatever you say about ADL remember he took a team in Serie C which was bankrupt and has taken them to the CL nearly every year while they have been in Serie A on a low budget compared to Inter, Milan and other clubs and they are debt free! He may be disliked but he is a businessman.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 11:54am
Ancelotti has lost it. He has come along and ruined a great squad that played the best football in Italy by far. Ancelotti was also sacked from Bayern remember. He insists on sticking with a rigid 4-4-2 which doesn't suit the team and is stuck in his way of 10-15 years ago. Also the constant rotating of the team doesn't help. Milik isn't good enough. Insigne, Mertens and Koulibaly should be the foundations of the team. Insigne divides opinion but his talent and creativity is key to Napoli.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 11:40am
Don't know why everyone is so surprised. This was inevitable. With a madman like that in charge, this club was going nowhere. All he did was deluded the fans for years. Napoli was, is and always will be, a provincial team, with no business being in the top four or Champions League. Ancelotti won't get another top job, because he is tainted now, and the stench from Naples will follow him everywhere he goes. All the top players they have should go north to Milan, Inter and Juve.
on the 13th November, 2019 at 5:58am

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