Napoli-Milan Preview: Cauldron of Hate

The people of Naples and fans of Napoli tell themselves and the world that everyone in Naples are the most wonderful, loving people. But last year, their fans were the source of the most hate, racism, and violence toward Milan players and fans, with no provocation from our fans or players outside of sporting results. Not to mention the havoc they wreaked elsewhere. Their owner, De Laurentiis, when being interviewed about his team winning the Scudetto after 30 years, could not stop talking about how his team were robbed by referees in our Champions League matchups (even though we had beaten them 4-0 in the league as well.) I was already dreading this fixture, when I found out that the heightened security and threat of cancelling our midweek Champions League match this past Wednesday in Paris was... wait for it... because Napoli fans were invited by PSG fans to the match. Whatever with the football, I just hope all of our players and fans survive their trip to the Stadio Diego Maradona, the cauldron of hate.

No Osimhen, no problem for Napoli, except when Kvaratskhelia met Calabria last season.

Continuing in the tradition of teams that struggle after winning the Scudetto, losing both their sporting director and their manager has caused last year's champions to struggle early on this season. New manager Rudi Garcia has thus far failed to produce the results or the beautiful football Napoli were known for last year. The former Roma manager is well known to Pioli, as they got into a public spat after a Derby match eight years ago, although I am sure they will both do better than the home fans (even if that is a very low bar.) Napoli come into this match four points behind us in fourth place following their 3-1 win over Verona last week. They also have struggled somewhat in the Champions League, although they sit in second in their group

Even Pioli and Rudi Garcia have bad blood (of course Pioli still had hair, then, too.)

On Tuesday, they barely managed a 1-0 win over FC Union Berlin. For that match, coach Rudi Garcia lined up: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Natan, Mario Rui; Cajuste, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Raspadori, and Kvaraskhelia. Garcia will notably be missing star forward Osimhen to injury, and likely Juan Jesus as well, who is struggling to recover from injury. Anguissa is also not fully fit, and although likely to play, will not play 90 minutes.

Pioli got some good news in that he recovered Okafor and Jović for this one. But he is still missing Bennacer, Caldara, Sportiello, Loftus-Cheek, and Chukwueze to injury. Also crucial for this one will be the suspended Thiaw, although since he was not himself yet again on Wednesday in our loss to PSG in Paris, maybe this is actually a positive for us this time around. So, only six players missing this time. (Unlike the nine players we missed on Sunday in our 1-0 loss to Juve.) Pioli needs this win for the mentality of the team, or else losing three matches in the space of a week could be very detrimental to morale.

Despite spending €134m in attacking players, Leão is still the only one expected to score goals, apparently

More important than the lineups for either side, unfortunately, will likely be the atmosphere. The last time we visited the Maradona in the league, one of the reasons we were able to defeat them so handily was because their ridiculous fans chost that match to silently protest... winning the Scudetto or something, I don't know. 

From fans online who make it their sole purpose in life to troll other people, to the fans who racially abused Leão last year, to the ones online who wished death to Theo and his young son, I will never believe the myth that Naples is some kind of city of brotherly love and kindness. In addition to many, many racially inappropriate behaviors toward their star striker, the club's own TikTok account abused Osimhen. And their fans defend it as some kind of acceptable behavior. They cannot even see how horrible they are, but the world does.

The "passion" of Napoli fans that is more often than not shown in violence is what concerns me the most about this match. Their fans have always made this stadium a difficult place to play, but usually in mostly respectable ways. Now they are just entitled and horrible and violent without any provocation. The same people who claim anyone saying anything negative about them is "territorial discrimination," are the same fans will justify the most disgusting behaviors and have literally set themselves apart as the club with the worst behaved fans for no apparent reason. Even our own Curva Sud sent out a flyer about their hatred toward Milan. I literally have lost interest in what happens in the match, I just want all of our players and fans to survive the cauldron of hate.

This post inspired by the music of Dionne Warwick's "What the World Needs Now"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 10
Napoli vs. Milan
Sunday, October 29, 2023 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT*)
*Note the time difference due to Daylight Savings ending in Europe on Sunday.
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Serie A provider elsewhere
For example, sign up for BeIN Sports in Australia or SuperSport in South Africa,
they both use the World Feed commentary for Serie A, which is fantastic
(*and they also do not sponsor Inter's kits)

Napoli-Milan Preview: Cauldron of Hate Napoli-Milan Preview: Cauldron of Hate Reviewed by Elaine on 11:45 PM Rating: 5
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