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Civil War Continues At Napoli

Aurelio De Laurentiis

Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is reportedly set to drop players’ wages by a quarter as the club’s civil war continues to erupt behind the scenes.

The club’s players and manager Carlo Ancelotti are in a furious stand-off with De Laurentiis which is threatening to engulf their season.

In an act of mutiny, Napoli’s players refused to report to a training base organised by the chairman following their Champions League draw with Salzburg.

Now Tuttosport, are reporting that the club’s famously fiery owner ‘wants to dock players wages by 25%’ as a punishment.

This follows other reports that De Laurentiis was even ready to sack Ancelotti just hours after the players’ mutiny.

According to Gazetta dello Sport, he was eventually talked out of it by the club’s lawyers who asked the chairman to reflect before making any decision.

If Ancelotti was to be sacked, the club would have to pay his salary until the end of the season regardless.

Tensions have been simmering behind the scenes at the San Paulo Stadium following an inconsistent start to the season.

Napoli, Serie A runners-up in three of the past four seasons, have won just one of their past five league games and are seventh in the Serie A.

However the situation exploded into drama when De Laurentiis organised a ‘ritero’ – a standard response to poor performances in Italian football where clubs are sent to a training retreat.

After a 1-1 draw with Salzburg left Napoli needing to wait a little longer to secure their Champions League progress, the players did not report to the club’s Castel Volturno training ground as requested.

Edo De Laurentiis, the president’s son and vice-president, entered the dressing room after Tuesday night’s game to enforce the training camp decision.

However club captain Lorenzo Insigne stepped up and told the vice-president to tell his father they were not going.

Instead the players, deciding they didn’t deserve to be punished for their slack performances, jumped in their cars and returned home.

Ancelotti had originally disagreed with the president’s decision but eventually came round to accept it, ultimately travelling to the training base on the team bus without the players.

Unsurprisingly, the Napoli hierarchy reacted to this insubordination with fury and announced legal action could be taken against the rebellious players.

Corrierre dello Sport has reported that Ancelotti is looking to calm the situation and is looking for a ‘reboot’ to stop the arguments and rebellions within the club in an attempt to save the club’s season.

Napoli’s players were labelled ‘mercenaries’ as 150 hardcore ultras gathered outside of the Stadio San Paolo to demand respect from the squad — with Insigne and chairman De Laurentiis told to leave.

Following the Champions League game with Salzburg, Napoli released a statement which said: ”

The club announces that, with reference to the behaviour of the players on Tuesday, it will proceed to protect its rights on an economic, capital, image and disciplinary levels in every competent jurisdiction.

‘It is also made clear that the responsibility to decide on ordering days in a training retreat lies with coach Carlo Ancelotti.

‘A press silence has been ordered from now until a date yet to be decided.’