Napoli, It’s Time to Celebrate! The Long Scudetto Wait Is Over!

The long wait is over. All Napoli needed to finally clinch their third Scudetto was snatching one point at the Dacia Arena in Udine in the last match of Serie A Round 33.

But sometimes, the last step is the most difficult to take. And, when Sandi Lovric opened the scoring for Udinese after just 13 minutes, it seemed like Luciano Spalletti’s Partenopei were once again uncapable of getting the job done – like a few days ago when they failed to beat Salernitana and lost the chance to celebrate the title on their home turf.

But then Victor Osimhen, perhaps the most representative man in Napoli’s new generation of players, put things back in balance with his 22nd league goal this season. From then on, the game had nothing more to say as both sides were just waiting for the end.

Napoli’s triumph was officially certified at 10.45 PM, Italy time, when referee Rosario Abisso blew for full time. A horde of Neapolitans supporters promptly stormed the pitch, while 60,000 fans rejoiced at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, when the match was also broadcast.

Among them was President Aurelio De Laurentiis, the man who took charge of Napoli when the club was swarming in Serie C1 following a bankruptcy, and little by little re-established their status among the Italian football aristocracy.

You asked me to win,” the President addressed the supporters right after the match, “and we did win.” Thirty-three years after Diego Maradona and co’s win in the 1989/90 season, Naples is again the capital of calcio.

Napoli’s domination was never in doubt this season. The Azzurri started their Serie A campaign with two wins and two draws in the first four games, but then collected a phenomenal string of 11 success in a row which wiped away any potential opposition.

When the Serie A went into hibernation to make room for the World Cup in Qatar, Napoli had already accumulated a comfortable lead over the chasing pack.

Losses to Inter and Milan in the second part of the season did not halt the Partenopei‘s triumphal march, whose most magnificent display was perhaps a 5-1 demolition of Juventus in January.

Even bowing out of the Champions League at the hands of Milan seemed like a minor disappointment as the Partenopei‘s focus and mind were clearly more on breaking their 33-year Scudetto drought when they faced the Rossoneri in a UCL Quarter Final bout.

And indeed, Napoli had no rivals in the Peninsula. They showed a domestic superiority that not even Juventus had displayed during the strongest days of their nine-year grip over the Serie A.

They did so in a season that saw them lose such talismanic players as Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, and Dries Mertens. When the smoke clears out and celebrations are over, one might even wonder whether Napoli’s missed successes in the past years (the Partenopei had a golden chance to win the Italian title in the 2017/18 season) were due to the lack of winning mentality on the part of those who were rightfully believed the team’s key pillars…

Moreover, for some players that left the club, an equal number of new faces landed in Castel Volturno. The Napoli scouts travelled all over to Georgia to sign this quasi-unknown 22-year-old left winger named Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who turned out to be a fantastic dribbler, a clinical assist-man, and an equally lethal striker.

Kvaratskhelia is the true face of Napoli’s astonishing triumph, together with Victor Osimhen – who cemented himself as one of the most dominating forwards in the Serie A, one of the few players that can turn a game around entirely by himself.

But Napoli’s Serie A win also has the face of Luciano Spalletti, who finally clinched his first Italian campionato after almost 30 years of managerial career. The Tuscany-born coach had previously won two league titles in Russia at the helm of Zenit, but failed to do the same in his native Italy with Roma and Inter.

At 64 years of age, his best coaching days may still be to come as President De Laurentiis just announced that Spalletti will be Napoli’s cornerstone for the future. As things stand, the Azzurri seem to have everything they need to open a winning cycle.