Napoli-Milan Preview: For Rino

Win or lose, this one’s gonna hurt. Dropping points would put our European hopes in question. But taking all three points would mean we would see even more emotion from our former legend and recent coach, Rino Gattuso. However, Rino is a warrior. Even as the opposing coach, he would never back down, and he would never want us to, either. So even if we have to break his heart to get three points, we need to do it. For Rino.

For Rino

After winning the Coppa Italia final against Juventus, Napoli have only lost one game since coming back, to Atalanta, which turns out to be nothing to be ashamed of. I Partenopei are currently sixth on the table behind Roma on goal differential, and two points ahead of us. Despite the kindness their Coppa Italia win may afford us, since their automatic Europa League qualification makes seventh place a Europa League qualifying spot, Milan are desperate to get sure qualification. That means we need every point for these last seven games.

His first time wasn't even with us

Despite dominating the now relegation zone Genoa, Napoli only squeaked by with a 2-1 win over il Grifone on Wednesday. For that match, Gattuso lined up Meret; Hysaj, Manolas, Maksimovic, Mario Rui; Ruiz, Lobotka, Elmas; Politano, Mertens, and Insigne. It appears as of this writing that he will have a full squad to choose from.

He would always want to win against Napoli

If Gattuso was a warrior who brought mentality when Milan needed it, Pioli is a mentality wizard. What he has done with this team since October is nothing short of magical, and also truly delightful. They are two very different coaches and very different people, both of whom have had a hand in bringing Milan success in times of turmoil.

Pioli is still missing Musacchio, and likely Castillejo as well. There is some chance that Duarte could return from injury, although he is still doubtful. Additionally, Romagnoli, Bennacer, and Rebic are all one card away from earning a suspension, so will need to be careful Sunday and going forward.

Our former warrior and coach, now beloved enemy

This matchup will be intense, as two of the teams with some of the best form since the break are facing off, vying for that fifth place spot on the table. For Milan fans, it is particularly emotional. When Gattuso parted ways with the club last summer by mutual consent, it left a tear in our hearts. Yet with what we have been through since then, and Gattuso replacing our beloved Carletto at Napoli with such success, it is difficult not to want what is best for our legendary warrior. However, if you asked him, he would want no mercy from Milan. So we will have to win this one for Rino.

This post inspired by the music of twenty one pilots’ “Tear in My Heart”

Serie A Week 32
Napoli vs. Milan
Sunday, July 12 • 21:45 CEST (3:45pm EDT)
This match can be streamed on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Napoli-Milan Preview: For Rino Napoli-Milan Preview: For Rino Reviewed by Elaine on 12:30 AM Rating: 5
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