Sunday September 22 2013
De La: 'San Siro superstition'

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis admits he has “superstitious fears” against Milan.

“San Siro is always a temple that scares you a little, as we haven’t won here since 1986. There’s always this superstitious air around this fixture,” he told Sky Sport Italia. Click here for the line-ups.

“However, I trust in my Coach and I’m sure aside from any superstition he prepared this game in the best way.

“In football there are never favourites, as there can be luck that can change a game in a second. You can even earn important points in stoppages, so that’s football. Of course, we hope that luck goes our way.

“I hope we can balance Serie A and the Champions League. For years I was trying to make Napoli international.

“I bought this club when coming back on a flight from Los Angeles where I spoke to Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, so football was not on my mind,” revealed the film producer.

“I played basketball as a kid, so I didn’t know anything about football. For years I asked myself why this football was always so provincial, but we slowly got on to the European stage.

“This is why I thought Rafa Benitez was the right man for the job, as with his pedigree he couldn’t be wrong. He has done well by holding on to the good work we’ve done in the past while at the same time revolutionising the style of play and bringing in new quality faces.

“My next step will be to import Italian football into America.”

Asked about tonight’s battle between Mario Balotelli and Gonzalo Higuain, De Laurentiis described them as kids.

“I always see Mario as that boy who goes out there to make a huge impact and battle his way through. Gonzalo is more of a relaxed kid who can happily just play with the ball in the street to amuse himself, but watch out, because when he steps up a gear he’ll surprise you.”