Saturday July 30 2011
De Laurentiis: 'I won't leave Napoli'

Aurelio De Laurentiis takes back his threat to leave football after storming out of the fixture ceremony, but the Napoli patron aims more sideswipes at rivals.

The President caused shockwaves on Wednesday when he stormed out of the ceremony drawing up the Serie A 2011-12 calendar, swearing at other club representatives and declaring he was “ashamed to be Italian.” He then hitched a lift from a passing lad on a scooter to get away from journalists.

“I just wanted to look after the interests of teams competing in Europe and therefore Italian football in general,” he insisted. His protest was that Napoli had very tough matches just days after Champions League appointments.

“How can you say meeting one big club after another is an advantage? Those in the Champions League have to be looked after, as this is how we can help Italian football get back to the level it deserves.

“It's not that Napoli are irritating someone in power. Either Italian football is immature or there's something that is wrong. Don't forget everyone who came before us went through Calciopoli.”

Genoa President Enrico Preziosi complained that De Laurentiis had gone too far in his behaviour, but the Napoli chief was unrepentant.

“Answer Preziosi? Let's leave it. That would be like firing on the Red Cross.

“I won't be leaving Napoli, as I made the people a promise. If it weren't for that, I would've already bought an English club to make money. My idea is to reinforce Napoli from the outside as well as within.”