Napoli: Champions of Italy!
Napoli, Serie A champions. BeSoccer
After 33 years of waiting, S.S.C. Napoli has been crowned Serie A champions! The last time they were to say this was in the 1989/90 season! Napoli has faced all the odds and critics before this season regarding selling or sending away some crucial players in the past while bringing in young unknown talents. The story of Napoli shows the football world that money isn't everything to try and achieve success, but determination and having a united group is.
As mentioned, Napoli lost some important players, bringing them close to glory in the past few seasons. The likes of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, and Kalidou Koulibaly all departed from the Naples club. Many Napoli fans were concerned that these high-level players were leaving and didn't understand which players could replace them.
Mertens is a center forward who became Napoli's all-time goalscorer. Insigne was an incredible left winger who loved cutting inside and scoring brilliant goals. Koulibaly is a strong center-back that many clubs have tried to sign over the years.
The replacements for these three were unknown young talents in Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and the strong Kim Minjae. For the striker position, Victor Osimhen, the most expensive signing in Napoli's history, has finally gotten the chance to start more games and showcase his talents after being in the club since 2020.
Napoli started the 2022/23 season spectacularly, winning 12 out of 15 Serie A games in the first half of the season and remaining undefeated in the Italian league. Many football fans noticed their hot form and wouldn't only showcase in Italy and the Champions League after thrashing Liverpool 5-2 and ending in first place of their group. Many fans were impressed by their weekly performances, and stars were born.
Kvaratskhelia was quickly a fan favorite for his pace, skill, and ease of getting past players. Osimhen's goal-scoring abilities have him claimed as one the best strikers in the world, and many believe Kim was a presence in defense for Napoli! Other players who had great seasons with Napoli were Piotr Zieliński, Zambo Anguissa, and captain Di Lorenzo.
The hype train for Napoli was so high that many believed they were one of the favorites to win the Champions League. This was no exaggeration as they were cruising in the league with no Italian club catching them and beating teams convincingly in the Champions League like Ajax, Liverpool, and Frankfurt.
Unfortunately for Napoli, the dream to lift the most desired title in Europe was over after they lost 2-1 to AC Milan on aggregate in the quarterfinals. They also missed out on winning the Coppa Italia after being eliminated by Cremonese on penalties. These two results were upsets many didn't expect and left Naples sad, but there was still one thing, one objective they have been after for years, the Scudetto.
Weeks passed by, and Napoli's form dropped drastically. Still, the inconsistency by the rest of the Serie A teams and the schedule of games decreasing gave Napoli their Scudetto dream closer than expected.
Napoli had the chance to win the Scudetto at home in the Stadia Diego Armando Maradona against Salernitana after Lazio lost 3-1 to Inter Milan. Lazio was the closest to Napoli in the table, and after that loss to Inter, Napoli only needed to win against Salernitana. Napoli was on the right track after leading 1-0 with a Mathías Olivera header. All was well until a left-footed striker by Boulaye Dia tied the game. The game ended 1-1 and halted the celebrations in Naples.
The attention was on the Udinese-Napoli game at the Stadio Friuli. Fans watched the game on screens in the Diego Armando Maradona stadium, and tons of fans turned up in Udine, Italy, for the match. Many Napoli fans anticipated the title in Naples! Napoli just needed one point left to win the title, which means a draw or win is enough.
Things didn't turn out right, as in the 13th minute of the game, Sandi Lovric gave Udinese the lead! Napoli was blowing another chance to win the title. Napoli was desperate to get a goal, as a win wasn't even necessary.
The moment many Napoli fans were waiting for arrived in the 52nd minute. The ball was loose in the box, and the top goal scorer for Napoli this season, Victor Osimhen, scored the equalizer. The away side of the Stadio Friuli went crazy as the Diego Armando Maradona stadium filled with Napoli fans. The final whistle finally arrived, and the whole of Naples celebrated the triumph of becoming Italian champions!
Napoli fans jumped and invaded the Udinese pitch to celebrate with the players and coaches of Napoli. The scenes were incredible, and emotions were at an all-time high for the Napoli players, staff, and fans. The manager, Luciano Spalletti, couldn't contain his emotions on the pitch, while the president of Napoli, Aurelio de Laurentiis, acknowledged the coach and the accomplishment.
Napoli president De Laurentiis: "Luciano Spalletti will stay here. Our project will not stop here — it's just the beginning. We want to win again, and again, and again. And then there's the Champions League!"
Napoli are champions with five games to spare in the league. They could reach up to 95 points in the league if they win all five remaining games. Napoli celebrates their 3rd Serie A title and could celebrate more in the future with having a great squad that clicked well already in their first season together.