It’s April 29, 1990. A goal by Marco Baroni, then defender of Napoli, now manager of Lecce, gives the Azzurri the 1-0 home victory against Lazio. A victory that establishes the certainty of winning the second Scudetto in the club’s history Neapolitan.
Thirty-three long years since then, Napoli has conquered the Italian flag five games before the end of the championship, equaling the record of Turin, Fiorentina, Inter, and Juventus. It is the first post-Maradona Scudetto, breaking what seemed like a curse for the Azzurri fans, as if the era of the Pibe de Oro and his teammates had been an unrepeatable achievement. This year’s success has in some ways surpassed that of Diego’s Napoli, considering the historic qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
ExpressVPN has gone all in to celebrate the accomplishments of Osimhen and the squad. To commemorate the Neapolitan fans and the success of the team, we launched our own VPN server in Naples. Continue streaming Serie A and European Cup matches with security—so you can focus on the goals!
We also had the chance to catch up with Alessandro Renica, who’s held the Napoli shirt high winning two championships, an Italian Cup, an Italian Super Cup, and a UEFA Cup in his career. The legend also played 136 games for Napoli, scoring 10 goals as a defender—including one against Juventus in the UEFA Cup in the 119th minute, which allowed the Azzurri to pass the round and then go on to win the continental trophy.
French by birth and Veronese by adoption, Renica has long frequented the Neapolitan TV lounges where he has become a skilled and refined commentator on Neapolitan football events. Today, he joins us to celebrate this victory!
Scudetto Napoli: Q&A with Alessandro Renica
What are the differences between this tricolor and those won by you in 1987 and 1990?
The 1986-1987 season will remain forever in the memory of Neapolitan fans, the first Scudetto is never forgotten. It is still considered today as a sort of redemption for a city, which in those years was certainly not doing well amid earthquakes, poverty, and organized crime. It was an incredible year that also saw us score a sensational brace thanks to the success also in the Italian Cup.
This year, on the other hand, is the Scudetto of programming, of the project, of those who have demonstrated with facts that ideas often count more than money. This time there is no redemption for the city, which for years has been a real metropolis, a European capital that sets the standard in various sectors, from fashion to art, through theater and culture.
Have you noticed different attitudes on the part of the Neapolitans?
Since January, Neapolitan fans have exorcised superstition not only by celebrating the Scudetto much earlier but also by finding similarities between that period and the current one: both Corrado Ferlaino and Aurelio De Laurentiis waited 18 years to lead Napoli to conquer the first tricolor; both Ottavio Bianchi and Spalletti won in their second year on the bench with the Neapolitans; in the two years, the club from Campania has always lost the first match after the Christmas break; both seasons finished with the fewest losses and the most wins.
There is no shortage of coincidences, but do you think there are differences between the two championships?
Certainly. No doubt. There are. First of all, Napoli in 1986-87 could count on the strongest player in the world, Diego Armando Maradona. Today Osimhen is the symbolic man of Napoli, but Diego was not only the strongest in the world but also a solitary driver. Furthermore, the Pibe de Oro was the only foreigner in the group, but obviously, we are talking about another football era with very different rules from today. This year, however, the Spalletti gang proved to be strong as a collective. Osimhen for example, when he passed away, was excellently replaced by Simeone who did not regret his absence, far from it. In this current formation, everyone proved to be useful but no one was indispensable, the same thing certainly cannot be said for a player like Maradona.
“Your” Napoli was able to remain at the top for at least 6/7 years, is this destined to open a cycle?
“My Napoli” had returned from certainly not exciting seasons and traveled very often in the middle of the table. When Maradona arrived, he only needed a year of acclimatization to turn everything upside down. An unexpected tricolor arrived before anyone’s wildest expectations. In recent seasons, however, the Azzurri have almost always been competitive for the title, coming close to it in 2016, 2018, and last year. The tests for the third seal were therefore not lacking but paradoxically the triumph came when no one expected it or after the farewells of Insigne, Mertens, Koulibaly, and Fabian Ruiz. However, like the Pibe de Oro, Spalletti overturned the predictions on the second attempt, demonstrating that his football ideas and the group are superior to the individual. Yes, I answer yes to your question, for me, the Napoli of De Laurentiis and Spalletti can open a winning cycle in Italy and in Europe.