Maradona tributes the backdrop as rattled Napoli intention to bounce again

MILAN: Napoli pays tribute to Diego Maradona on Sunday after they host Lazio hoping to place two painful and expensive consecutive defeats behind them.

The soccer world honoured Maradona on the anniversary of his loss of life on Thursday however Napoli are utilizing this weekend’s fixture to allow Neapolitans to lastly say goodbye on the place the place their icon was most at dwelling.

On Thursday Napoli instructed supporters to reach on the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona over three hours early in order that they could possibly be within the stands for an “intense” commemoration ceremony devoted to the person who led a beforehand mediocre staff to their solely two Serie A titles and the 1989 UEFA Cup.

Maradona stays a God-like determine in Naples, the place kids are nonetheless named Diego in his honour and murals of the Argentine will be discovered all around the metropolis, regardless of his grisly fall from grace on the finish of his turbulent seven years in southern Italy, a failed medicine take a look at and particulars of a sordid non-public life dogging him as he fled again to Buenos Aires in 1991.

Now Napoli followers will be capable to collectively categorical their love for Maradona within the stadium the place he weaved magic on the peak of his profession, after being locked out by Covid-19 a yr in the past.

“Naples was all the time there for dad, and he was all the time there for Naples,” says his son Diego Maradona Junior in a current Sky Italia documentary.

“You see a sticker in a automobile, or a mural, or a child on the road who has a prime with Maradona written on the again, and that fills me with pleasure as a result of he gave the individuals of my metropolis never-ending pleasure.”

Napoli will probably be hoping for a lift from the pre-match occasions as they tackle Lazio off the again of losses at Inter Milan and Spartak Moscow.

The three-2 defeat on the San Siro final weekend was Napoli’s first of the league season, lower the hole between the league leaders and champions Inter to 4 factors and price them their star striker Victor Osimhen.

Osimhen is anticipated to be out of motion for 3 months after fracturing his left cheek and eye socket in a sickening conflict of heads with Milan Skriniar.

To make issues worse their hopes of constructing the Europa League knockouts are nonetheless within the steadiness following a fraught 2-1 defeat in Moscow on Wednesday.

Napoli’s bid to take care of their Serie A lead has additionally been hit by the absence of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who has been a revelation in midfield since arriving in the summertime on mortgage from Fulham.

AC Milan, who’re stage on 32 factors with Napoli and on a excessive after their win at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday evening, host Sassuolo with coach Stefano Pioli set to signal an extension to his contract which is able to maintain him on the membership till the summer time of 2023.

Juventus in the meantime journey to high-flying Atalanta nonetheless reeling from their 4-Zero demolition at Chelsea, 4 factors behind their opponents who sit within the remaining Champions League spot.

Participant to look at: Giovanni Simeone

Whereas Napoli put together to provide Maradona the send-off they might have favored to a yr in the past, one other Argentine within the form of Simeone is making waves in Italy.

After hanging in opposition to each Juventus and Napoli in current weeks, Simeone is having the very best season of his life on mortgage at Verona beneath Igor Tudor and has scored his 9 Serie A objectives in his final eight matches.

Verona travels to struggling Sampdoria with the European locations of their sights due to the 26-year-old’s purple scorching kind.

Key stats

1 – the variety of video games Juventus have gained by multiple aim

25 – Atalanta have a membership record-equalling variety of factors after 13 league fixtures forward of the go to of Juve.

Fixtures (instances GMT)

Friday

Cagliari v Salernitana (1945)

Saturday

Empoli v Fiorentina, Sampdoria v Verona (1400), Juventus v Atalanta (1700), Venezia v Inter Milan (1945)

Sunday

Udinese v Genoa (1130), AC Milan v Sassuolo, Spezia v Bologna (1400), Roma v Torino (1700), Napoli v Lazio (1945)

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