Thursday May 1 2014
Matthaus: 'Napoli well respected'

Lothar Matthaus praised Napoli’s campaign, assuring they are “admired in Europe and Rafa Benitez is a master.”

The former Inter and Germany star spoke to CalcioNapoli24 about his impressions of the Partenopei.

“Benitez is a Coach with a successful CV and great experience, plus he is a tireless worker and a master of tactics,” said Matthaus.

“He arrived at a big club, taking over from Walter Mazzarri, winning back the international spotlight with the Champions League. It was a very strong group with Dortmund, Arsenal and Marseille, so to go out with 12 points was hugely disappointing.”

Matthaus was asked about some of the transfer rumours doing the rounds, including Diego Contento of Bayern Munich – who has Neapolitan parents and was named in honour of Maradona – and Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan.

“Gundogan is a player of superior tactical intelligence, but he needs to recover from his injury and rediscover his old form first. Contento hasn’t played much, just 10 Bundesliga appearances, so he’s probably a little too green for such a big move.

“Napoli have become a top club who are admired in Europe and taken seriously at international level, partly down to their financial organisation. This is undoubtedly down to President Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“Napoli is not just a football club. The city is marvellous, as are the inhabitants, with genuine charm. Napoli have great tradition.

“Was I close to Napoli as a player? There were always rumours, but never founded.”

Matthaus was questioned on the ‘territorial discrimination’ chants against Neapolitans, which are classed in Italy as racism.

“This is a truly unpleasant aspect that I find abhorrent, but unfortunately I don’t have an ad hoc solution to stop racism.”

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