Juventus's sold-out game at Napoli tonight will be a big occasion for Naples-born prospects Raffaele Palladino, Antonio Nocerino and Domenico Criscito.
Both teams have made a very good start to the new season after winning promotion from Serie B last term. Claudio Ranieri's Juventus are second, just three points behind leaders Inter, while Napoli are six points behind the Bianconeri following a spectacular 4-4 draw at fourth-placed Roma. However, when the sides meet at the Stadio San Paolo, Juve's Neopolitan players will be feeling the strain.
The 22-year-old midfielder Nocerino has made a big impact in Turin this season, also earning a call-up from Italy coach Roberto Donadoni, but his loyalties will be tested this evening.
"If I score, I will not celebrate because I'm a Napoli fan and I respect their shirt and these people," he said. "I scored against Napoli when I was at Piacenza and did not celebrate. I really could not do it."
None of the three ever played for Napoli but Palladino came close to signing for his hometown club at the age of 14. "I had a trial but they did not sign me," said the 23-year-old forward who could replace the suspended Pavel Nedved on Saturday.
"It hurt but now I'm happy because I had the chance to join Juventus instead and all my family have always been Juventus fans. I have never played at the San Paolo Stadium and I hope the fans will give me a good welcome."
Centre-back Criscito, 20, started the season as a first choice but then lost his place to Giorgio Chiellini and Nicola Legrottaglie.
However another 'Napoletano', former Napoli and Juventus defender Ciro Ferrara, feels things will improve. "Chiellini and Legrottaglie are playing well in the centre so Criscito just needs to be patient," he said. "He is very good and his moment will come soon."
A win by two goals in Naples would send Juventus to the top of Serie A for at least for one day as Inter visit Palermo on Sunday afternoon.