Sunday, 10 June 2007

Napoli "back from hell"

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentis took them from Serie C to the top flight. "We’ve come a long way – straight from hell."

The southerners are back in Serie A after today’s dramatic events, when a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Marassi and Piacenza’s 1-1 with Triestina meant both Napoli and Genoa were automatically promoted.

"This was not at all an expected success," assured De Laurentis. "I always told the lads to stay calm. We are still young and only constructed this side 30 months ago. We’ve come a long way to get here – straight from Hell back to Paradise."

Napoli were shunted down to Serie C after the bankruptcy of the previous administration in the summer of 2004, but film mogul De Laurentis built a completely new side.

"I must thank coach Edy Reja and director general Pierpaolo Marino, who were central to this project. We are only at the beginning and from now on I will battle for a different type of football."

Napoli had been absent from Serie A for six years, but now aim to construct a competitive line-up so they can stay among calcio’s elite.

"Napoli’s era began three years ago with the arrival of De Laurentis," added director general Marino. "This is just a stepping stone, but a very important and difficult one for a side that had to fight Juventus for promotion."

The head-to-head with Genoa – a club they are twinned with – ended in a huge party with both sides booking their tickets to the top flight.

"This match was the best possible epilogue two teams that absolutely deserved Serie A. The fans have always been close to us with on average 40,000 spectators per game. This success is dedicated to the Neapolitans."

One of them – defender Paolo Cannavaro – was so moved at the promotion that when he was interviewed during the celebrations he was sobbing so much he could not form words.

[Napoli & Genoa secure promotion]

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