The sky was filled with lights and Naples burst out with joy when the city team conquered the Italian league and ended a 33 year wait. “We’re going to have a party all night, all week!” the Neapolitans express euphorically amid sparklers, fireworks and the ever-present memory of Diego Maradona.
“It’s incredible! It’s been a long time! Look at the atmosphere, it’s crazy!” Facundo Quense (33 years old) enthused just after the end of the Udinese-Napoli match (1-1), on matchday 33 of Serie A. That tie, more than 800 kilometers away, allowed the long-awaited third scudetto‘ of the Neapolitan team.
For weeks it was clear that Napoli was going to be champion and would only remain to know the specific date. “This is a liberation. It’s something you have to experience! Party, party, party! This year is crazy,” shouted Laura Curcio (25 years old), surrounded by other fans who did not stop recording videos and taking selfies to immortalize the moment, consigned the agency AFP.
As soon as the match ended, thousands of ‘tifosi’ were already circulating through the streets with their flags, scarves and banners, dyeing the city sky blue and white, the colors of the club. The city center was the meeting place for most of the fans.
Tie and relief in Naples
In the center, many fans had gathered to watch the game against Udinese on television on terraces set up in the squares and in front of the churches.
about 55,000 fans gathered at the diego maradona stadium to follow the game on giant screens. They trembled first as Udinese took the lead in the 13th minute, but Victor Osimhen’s goal early in the second half brought great relief and made it 1-1.
“We have been waiting for a long time,” recalls Antonio De Roma, a 20-year-old student. “It’s crazy because in his day, when Maradona had won the World Cup with Argentina and the Scudetto with Napoli, my parents talked to me about it. And now I’m living it!“, he was excited.
With a scarf behind his back and a bottle of beer in his hand, in front of the Sant’Angelo a Nilo church, Alessandro De Luca (19 years old) also enjoyed the moment.
“For years we felt relegated to the background, behind the teams from the north. He did not live through the 33-year drought, but he cried for this team, both for the defeats and the victories. I’m crying today too“insists this student.
Napoli, under the protection of Maradona
“Soccer is in our DNA, we are Italian, but above all Neapolitans,” recalls Antonio Esposito, 65, under the famous giant fresco dedicated to Maradona in Spanish neighborhoods. “This victory is even more beautiful than the first (in 1987), We feel that Maradona is with us and protects us.“, it states.
“We have won, we have deserved it. Unlike other clubs, who bought the championship,” he added, thanking above all Luciano Spalletti’s coaching staff.
Like many Neapolitans, he dressed his dog in a sky blue shirt: “He is also a fan, he follows all the games.”
On the balconies and windows, the colors of the football club were also very present, as they have been in recent months.
The the celebrations will continue with the return of the players on Friday and then with the game on Sunday, at home against Fiorentina.
“Naples is full of joy. This is like Brazil, we are crazy about football“, affirmed Carlo Antonio Cajan (67 years old), who predicts that the party will last “fifteen days or a month”.
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