Napoli Youngster Zanoli Comes Through in Challenging Spot

With Giovanni Di Lorenzo on the mend, Alessandro Zanoli got his first start for Napoli against Atalanta, and he made the most of his opportunity. The fullback held his own in the back. Moreover, he initiated the action that led to the early penalty kick with an accurate through ball for Dries Mertens.

The defender is not super young, as he is 21. Still, it was a surprise for him to stay on the roster in the summer, La Repubblica indicates. He had just one season among the pros under his belt. He provided 3 assists in 35 appearances with Legnago in Serie C in 2020-2021.

Luciano Spalletti was impressed with him during the summer and decided to keep him. The Napoli coach dished on Zanoli in the pre-game presser: “Unfortunately for him, he has one of the most modern fullbacks in the international landscape ahead of him. That is the only reason why I have not given him minutes so far, because he would deserves it. He has been ready for a long time. I was aware of it since our second practice together in the retreat in Trentino.”

Zanoli is a product of Carpi’s youth system, the former team of director Cristiano Giuntoli, and Napoli acquired him for a decent buck, €1.5M, in 2019. He turned heads during the early friendlies. However, Kevin Malcuit generally played over him in the rare instances when Di Lorenzo was not in the XI. He  further won over the coach during the break, and he is poised to be a regular going forward.