September 30, 2023

Naples, Di Lorenzo after Maradona: Captain of the Scudetto


The blue full-back one step away from dreaming: ‘It makes me a bit strange to think that I’m the one who takes over Diego’s baton’

“Je, I’m close to you,” sang Pino Daniele and also Lorenzo Insigne, the last Neapolitan captain of the Azzurri, wrote it in a post that last summer ideally passed the armband to Tuscan Giovanni Di Lorenzo, the man who it will be able to lift the cup of the third Neapolitan championship. “As a fan, I’m superstitious, but this time I can say it: The big dream is near. Keep it up”. Lorenzo is sincere, of his good Canadian retreat, but it is also human that, as the son of Vesuvius, he dreamed of winning this trophy as a protagonist and instead stopped only winning the 2020 Italian Cup is so. But it’s nothing personal, it’s something that repeats itself, because history teaches us that there is no Neapolitan captain who has won the Scudetto. Only one can boast of defeating two: his name is Ciro Ferrara. Who was then also the captain of a small Naples, the post-Maradon one.


Sure, then you look at the image, the man who changed the history of Naples, not just as a team, and you think his Argentine birthplace is a statistical fact rather than a fact of substance. In the sense that Diego Armando Maradona is the man who best embodies the Neapolitan spirit. Above all, he was able to bring pride to the people of this land kissed by God and sometimes mistreated by men. And for all these reasons and more, he received Neapolitan citizenship from the then Mayor Luigi De Magistris in July 2017 and continues to be infinitely grateful from the Neapolitans, who fully consider him one of them.


However, one difficulty remains for those born here: being able to stand out with the blue shirt. Paolo Cannavaro, who won the Italian Cup as captain in 2012 and who has intervened several times over the years, especially in defense of his former teammate and friend Lorenzo Insigne, explained it well: “Unfortunately, the Neapolitans always ask more of their fellow citizens. Someone born here who wears blue can do no wrong and nothing is forgiven. As is rightly the case with other players. That’s how it is and it will never change. Personally, I still have the satisfaction that time has faded the bitterness of the past.”


And the leader with today’s bandage comes from the Garfagnana, more precisely from Castelnuovo. His story is all blue: from Empoli to Naples to the national team as European champions. But it is also a path of humility that is easily recognizable in this country: six years ago Giovanni was still playing in Matera, in the Lega Pro, and with perseverance he got this far: “We are getting closer and closer to our goal, our dream . Winning against Juve in Turin is not easy for anyone. Bringing such a prestigious title to Naples doesn’t happen every day. Of course we also wanted to continue in the Champions League. We played evenly with Milan, we’re sorry to be eliminated like that, but we came away with our heads held high. After that game, we immediately started preparing for a comeback in the league. The big teams think that way, they look at what they have to do and not at what happened. We showed that we are a great team. It feels a bit strange imagining being captain of Napoli, after Maradona who will lift the Scudetto it will be incredible. Like all my teammates, I’m enjoying that satisfaction after a positive journey.”

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