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Napoli's President Uses Nazis As Reference For Scathing Attack On Gonzalo Higuain

Napoli's President Uses Nazis As Reference For Scathing Attack On Gonzalo Higuain
By Gavin Cooney
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If you were to list the football clubs most welded to wild, Catherine-Earnshaw-type emotion, Napoli are pretty much near the top.

Consider this newspaper quote upon the day Diego Maradona signed:

[The city may not have a] "mayor, houses, schools, buses, employment and sanitation, none of this matters because we have Maradona".

El Diego was treated as a God in Naples, and the club have retired the number 10 shirt in his honour. The club have not won the Scudetto since Maradona left, and as a result the pursuit of a league title has become the kind of existential obsession that is the Premier League preserve of Liverpool.


The club looked like they were close to ending the hoodoo last season, led once again by an Argentine: Gonzalo Higuain. Juventus began the season in rotten form and Napoli streaked to the top, propelled by the prolific Higuain. In the end, things went awry and the club finished a distant second in the league, although Higuain finished the season with a remarkable 38 goals.

Now, however, Higuain has left for Juventus in a ludicrous £76 million move, with the striker citing Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis as one of the main reasons he left Naples. De Laurentiis responded to the move by releasing the following statement on the Napoli website:

I read Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain's statements during his unveiling press conference at Juventus and I'd like to comment on the part when, after having said that Juventus is a great family and he is happy to wear their shirt, he claims the main reason why he chose to join that club was me. I thought long and hard whether these words deserved any reply, since everyone knows clearly what the truth is. Then, I decided that it was better to say something, just not to be forgotten in the future. Here is my answer.

1) If Mister Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain was annoyed by my presence, it took him many years to understand it, unless he is a liar or an excellent actor. I would rule the latter out, though, as I know something about actors.

2) We spent a long time together, even recently. For example an entire day in Rome at the Disciplinary Commission on April 15 in order to have the four-game ban reduced in the middle of the Scudetto race. I assure you that day Gonzalo was very calm and didn't show any intolerance towards me, as the many people around us that day could testify.

3) Why on earth his agent never ever showed any impatience the several times we met recently to discuss his contract renewal? Had they been so intolerant towards me they wouldn't have spent hours with me discussing money, a lot of money, with huge availability and understanding.

4) Isn't his agent embarrassed to say that the team where he played and helped him score 38 goals was not up to the challenge? Isn't he embarrassed to say that Gonzalo's team-mates were rubbish, when Napoli was the Italian team that had created the most goal chances, something pivotal to let a striker score many goals?

5) To try and explain that his move is my fault is a huge lack of respect towards all Neapolitans. If Higuain had read Napoli's history, he would know this city was the only one to get rid alone of the Nazis even before the arrival of the Americans who found the town freed when they entered it. You can betray these people if you are shameless but you can't take the piss out of them.

What a remarkable statement, and reading through it charts the emotions De Laurentiis went through while writing it. It begins in relatively cool and calculated fashion before descending into rage towards the end: that Nazi reference came out of nowhere.


Higuain is facing a tasty reception upon his return with Juve next season.

See Also: Watch: Unseen Footage Shows Hugo Lloris Injured Himself Before Eder's Euro 2016 Winner

See Also: Paul Pogba Is A Statement Signing For Man United, So Let's Cut The Bullshit


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