Societa Sportiva Calcio rebirth:
Napoli: Diego Maradona’s stardom
Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli has been going through an overhauling phase, currently undergoing a revival that promises to bring back the great moments of the 80’s, when Diego Maradona led
the small club into the list of Scudetto winners.
The greatest player of all time was deeply connected to Napoli and referred to it as his spiritual home. Maradona, who was with Barcelona during the early 1980’s, was having a bad term suffering
injuries while his misunderstandings with club president, Josep Nunez broke down the player’s relationship with the Catalan giants beyond repairs. The former second striker considered his options for a transfer and saw Napoli as the place where he should be
Maradona saw Napoli as a mid-table outfit that had the intentions of rising, and had to the potential to excel. Napoli offered a record breaking deal of 12 million Pounds in June of 1984.
His arrival in Naples was greeted by more than 60,000 fans and his presence in the city gave the Neapolitans a renewed strength and hope for their club competing in the Serie A. Napoli were always criticized for being the underdog and financially weak club
from a small city, but Maradona gave the desire and belief to the people of Naples to compete with the giants like Juventus FC, Inter Milan and AC Milan. To everyone’s surprise, the Azzurri’s rose to break the monopoly created by the bigger names that were
being funded by large amounts of money.
In his debut season, the former Argentinean attacking midfielder made 36 appearances and scored 17 goals, but it wasn’t good enough to carry the team anywhere above the mid-table with the
relegation zone being on the list of future possibilities. Despite being a player of unmatched quality and deserving to play among the elites football, Maradona stayed in Naples. The people of Naples thought of Maradona as a messiah and Maradona took it as
such. This was the time when Maradona decided to ask the club to make suitable changes and also made his presence known on the field.
Maradona and the management got themselves the services of footballers like Ciro Ferrara, Salvatore Bagni and Fernando De Napoli; these are just some names that filled the ranks for Napoli
and helped in rebuilding the team during the mid to late 1980’s. Another big change made during the era was the replacement of head coach, Rino Marchesi, by the installation of Ottavio Bianchi. Bianchi gave the players the desire and will to the will to play
attractive yet effective football. The coach helped implement match winning tactics and he played a very important part in bringing the glorious era to the outfit.
Bianchi’s first season at Napoli in 1985/86 gave the team the breakthrough they needed as they amazed the entire Serie A by finishing 3rd in the league. The Azzurri ended their
13-year winless run against Juventus FC by defeating them at the San Paolo Stadium. No prize for guessing as the winning goal was scored by Maradona himself. That was a defining moment in The Blues revival as they beat their northern counterparts, who were
the heavyweights of the Italian football. Some might argue that the victory had a hint of fortune, but the arrival of Maradona was fundamental in bringing all these changes. Else history would have never been written the way it’s being told today.