Wednesday September 7 2011
Canna's Napoli 'can't wait for Champions'

Paolo Cannavaro and the Napoli fans “can't wait for the Champions League to start,” as it returns to the city after 20 years.

The Partenopei hadn't taken part in Europe's most prestigious competition since the days of Diego Armando Maradona, when it was still the European Cup.

“The pride and honour of wearing this shirt is immense, especially with the great football tradition that is represented by the Azzurri colours,” said the captain and hometown favourite.

“We know how difficult it was to go through bankruptcy seven years ago, but thanks to a new club and great plans, this team was able to climb all the way to the Champions League.

“All of this means even more for me, as I was born in Naples and wear the captain's armband,” Cannavaro told

“I came back here when the team was in Serie B in 2006-07, when Juventus and Genoa were demoted, so it was an extremely difficult tournament that we won with an almost miraculous achievement.

“Then the return to Serie A, the Intertoto Cup and Europa League all the way to proving ourselves at the top level.”

Napoli have been included in the so-called ‘group of death' with Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Villarreal.

Cannavaro had particular praise for Coach Walter Mazzarri, who very nearly walked away over the summer after taking Napoli to third place in Serie A.

“Thanks to the Coach, we have become a competitive group able to challenge anyone, whether home or away. Mazzarri has given us organisation, belief in ourselves and determination.

“The city can't wait for the Champions League to start so we can dive into this new European adventure.”

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