Nickname(s): The Blues
All-Time Ranking: 9th
2007/2008 Finish: 8th
2008/2009 Position (as of 04/07): 11th
Coach: Roberto Donadoni
Key Players: Paolo Cannavaro, German Denis, Ezequiel Lavezzi
Founded in 1904, Napoli has spent most of its existence in Italy’s top flight. The squad won the league title twice at the end of the 1980s and hasn’t had much success since. Though they are the ninth most successful side in Serie A history, they are the winningest team in the nation’s southern region, so they have a large, dedicated fan base.
Napoli’s two titles were largely due to the brilliant play of Diego Maradona, the controversial Argentine playmaker. After he left, the team suffered some hard times and even fell to the third division. Even when results were poor, people showed up for games in droves. The team has recently been mediocre and in the middle of the league table.
American Sports Doppleganger:
Napoli has suffered from some severe financial problems despite its two titles and the fact fans nearly fill the stadium to capacity every match. So, they remind me of the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, who also have had some cash flow problems despite winning two championships and almost always selling out all of the team’s home games.