Monday March 16 2020
Demme: 'San Paolo gives me goosebumps'

Diego Demme said his father “cried when I signed” with Napoli and revealed he “gets goosebumps” when he thinks about the atmosphere at the San Paolo.

The German midfielder arrived in Naples on a €12m transfer from RB Leizpig in January and has quickly established himself as one of the heroes in the city.

He signed a deal until June 2024 and life at the San Paolo has already lived up to his high expectations.

“My first appearance at the San Paolo was moving,” he told Bild. “I still remember the atmosphere in the match against Barcelona, it was incredible.

“If I think about it, I still get Goosebumps, it was a dream for me.”

He was identified by Gennaro Gattuso as the perfect player to help steady the ship and give balance to the midfield and Demme appreciates the trust from the former Milan coach.

“He immediately threw me on the pitch and things went well,” he added. “It’s an honour that he has shown his faith in me, together with [Andrea] Pirlo, he has always been a role model.

“The fact that he wanted me at Napoli is nice, the positive thing is that his idea of football is similar to the one of [RB Leipzig coach Julian] Nagelsmann. They both rely heavily on possession."

He is named after the Azzurri legend Diego Maradona and he revealed that it was a touching moment for his father when he signed for the Partenopei.

“He cried when I signed, it was exciting for all of us,” Demme revealed. “He is present for almost every game.

“Many remind me that I carry an important name, but I can’t and don’t want to confront Maradona.”

The 28-year-old explained that life in Naples has been different to his experience at Leipzig and after six appearances in Serie A, he is already recognised everywhere.

“In Leipzig, they only stopped me in the streets for a few selfies, but in Naples I have been recognised everywhere and during the first weeks I could hardly go to the supermarket.

“They are crazy about football here, even when I was in line at the shop, people would come up to me asking for a photo.”

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