President Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed he contacted Max Allegri before he appointed Gennaro Gattuso and believes Napoli can advance in the Champions League.
After a difficult start to the campaign, Gattuso was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor in December and has slowly helped revitalise the Partenopei.
On Wednesday, the coach picked up his first trophy in the Coppa Italia Final against Juventus but the President has revealed that he had initially contacted the former Bianconeri coach Allegri about the job.
“Me and Gattuso met before the game, we spoke as normal, we will have no problems converging our ideas,” he told the Corriere dello Sport. “We hit the tone immediately and it had an immediate effect on this team, which for me are very strong.
“I’m not saying this from today, nor am I saying it. What they do on the pitch confirms it. We have been an anti-Juve in recent years, for what we have won and what we have fought to win.
“But I have a habit of making extensive assessments and I wanted to talk to both Allegri and Gattuso. I called Allegri first, with whom I have a direct and esteemed relationship for year. When I called him, he was honest.
“He told me: ‘Aurelio, I rest, I need it, there is no absolute foreclosure, because you have carried out an extraordinary project and the two of us love each other. But I decided to remain quiet.’
“I called Rino, as expected. He came to Rome and now, here we are.”
Napoli have picked up the first trophy in the Italian season and have secured a place in the Europa League next season, but this year, De Laurentiis is dreaming of going deep in the Champions League.
“Don’t take away our dreams. They are the engine of life. We can go play in Barcelona and I even hope the Camp Nou is open to the public by August.
“It would be a great show. We are serene, convinced of our possibilities, then the best team shall pass. But the quarter-finals in Lisbon are electrifying.”
He will not give up on a place among the top four this season either, to make sure Napoli are secured a new contract in the competition.
“It’s not simple, it’s not impossible. The gap is considerably big but the Napoli that won the Coppa Italia beat Lazio, Inter and Juventus, in that order.
“We will try, because the fourth place will also change the future.”
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