Written by Richard Williams
Last night we witnessed Napoli crash out of the last 16 round of the Champions League, a valiant effort from the Italian club but it simply wasn’t enough to stop the current trophy holders Real Madrid. Still Napoli have a lot of positives to take away from this result, they have nothing to be embarrassed about being knocked out by a club full of talent, they put up a very good fight across the two legs and really gave Real a run for their money. When Mertens opened the scoring last night I really thought this could be a huge upset for Zidane and co, but it wasn’t to be. But could this be the waking of the sleeping giants from Naples?
Napoli are just 2 points behind Roma after they narrowly beat them 2-1 at the Olimpico. Belgian international Dries Mertens fired Napoli into the lead before doubling their lead just before the hour mark, these 2 goals added to Mertens tally of 23 for the season. But Dries Mertens isn’t the only star at Napoli, they have a very talented squad with big names such as former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Raul Albiol, Kalidou Koulibaly, Jose Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne, just a few big names amongst their ranks. Which makes me wonder whether we could see Napoli rise under Marizio Sarri, surely if they strengthen a little more defensively in the summer they could have an even better season next year.
Napoli currently sit 3rd in Serie A whilst being the leagues top scorers with 62 goals, 6 more than league leaders Juventus. Would Napoli be even more free scoring this season if they had held onto Gonzalo Higuain? He netted 38 goals in all competitions last season to help Napoli achieve 2nd place, their best run at the title since the 13/14 season. They currently look full of life and look set to pip Roma to the Champions league spot. With so many proven goalscorer’s in their side you’d bank on them really challenging for the title this season now with soul focus on the league and only being 10 points behind Juventus. This season could also mark the surpassing of Napoli’s all time goalscorer Diego Maradona with Marek Hamsik only 5 goals off Maradona’s 115, which would be quite the achievement for anyone, let alone a central midfielder.
Are we on the verge of seeing Napoli really break through to being huge contenders in Serie A and the Champions League? Let us know in the comments below!