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De Laurentiis: “Playing Juventus is always special”

De Laurentiis: “Playing Juventus is always special”

Napoli’s flamboyant owner is looking forward to his side’s Italian Supercup against the current league leaders (today, 18:30 CET)

On the field  Juventus and Napoki will face off for the Italian Supercup, on the bench Allegri will challenge Benitez, Higuain will duel Tevez, both teams thirsting for the trophy, but only one will lift it. This is what will take place on the field, while on the stands of the Jassim Bin Hamad in Doha will see Andrea Agnelli on one side and Aurelio De Laurentiis on the other, suffering, or goi g in raptures on the other for their respective teams.

The Napoli owner spoke to Tuttosport today of his team’s present and of their future projects: “Playing Juventus is always special that goes beyond the sporting sphere but follows a special tradition. It’s been since the Birra Moretti trophy from when we played in Serie C that we played spectacular matches. Moggi and Mourinho were upset because we beat them. The true rivalry started from when both clubs were in Serie B, however. Finding each other in an Italian Cup final and then in the Supercup is a sign of destiny. I don’t believe it will end here”.

The Napoli owner saw his Juventus counterpart “I saw Agnelli, we were civil as it should be between presidents of two teams that have a certain responsibility toward their supporters, of two cities that are counterpointed but important in Italian history. What happened in Beijing is history. It’s not true that Agnelli said that on a one-game tie we’re the best. I don’t believe that he was trying to pre-emptively defend an eventual loss. I think that he was trying to say that this is different from a league match. Right now, Juventus is stronger but I’ll play this Supercup: we’ll see a great Napoli”.

Napoli’s season is not compromised according to De Laurentiis: “Many are relaxing because they’re no longer scudetto contenders. I kept the tension high: they’re great and they should show it. We will fight to honour the shirt and the city. I’m always by their side, and therefore I say: let’s go boys, with all your might!”

With respect to Benitez’s contract De Laurentiis remarks: “If he wants to stay, I’ll be the first one to be happy about it, if not we’ll have to make due: Valencia, Liverpool and Chelsea have advanced without him. Napoli will do the same.

On the transfer market De Laurentiis turns his cards over on Gabbiadini: “The fact that he’ll be suspended for the next league match means that we’ll have him earlier so he can practice with us”. 

De Laurentiis had this to say about Conte and the proposed national team mini-camps in February and June: “Conte is a great coach, I like him because he says ‘no’, and for this reason he seems snobby. I agree with him, he has character. I think it would be better to limit national team players to the age of 21. Players like Pogba show that they are mature already at that age”. 

On the future of Italian football: “Everyone cares about their own interests: UEFA and FIFA don’t care about domestic leagues – I would like to see Serie A limited to 16 teams, but Lotito compromises at 18. Also, let’s have a European League. We talk and talk, but we don’t realize that in 10 years time nobody will go to the stadium. We must think about building stadiums of 15-20 thousand seats. It should become like going to the theatre: in order to gain access you must be privileged”.

On Napoli’s future: “I see Napoli in the context of great transfromation. We must recoup €150 million to balance the books and for the transfer market. We shall do this involving 150,000 fans that would invest €1,000 each: we would give them particular services. I feel this club belongs to me and be so for a long time. I will be the president until I die”.



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