Naples, Di Lorenzo after Maradona: captain of the Scudetto

The blue full-back one step away from the dream: “It makes me a bit strange to think I’m the one who will take over Diego’s baton”

“Je I’m close to you” sang Pino Daniele and Lorenzo Insigne, the last Neapolitan captain of the Azzurri, also wrote it in a post, who ideally passed the armband to the Tuscan Giovanni Di Lorenzo last summer, the man who will be able to lift the Cup of the third Neapolitan championship. “As a fan, I’m superstitious, but this time I can say it: the big dream is close. Go on like this”. Lorenzo is sincere, from his good Canadian retreat, but it is also human that as a son of Vesuvius he dreamed of being able to lift that Cup as a protagonist, and instead he stopped to lift only the 2020 Italian Cup. It happens, life is like this . But there is nothing personal, indeed it is something that is repeated, because history teaches us that there are none Neapolitan captains who have won the Scudetto. There is only one who can boast of having conquered two: his name is Ciro Ferrara. Then he was also the captain of a minor Naples, the post-Maradonian one.


Sure, then you look at the effigy, the man who changed the history of Naples, not just as a team, and you think that his Argentinean birthplace is more a statistical than a substantial fact. In the sense that Diego Armando Maradona is the man who best embodied the Neapolitan spirit. Above all, he has been able to give pride to the people of this land kissed by God and sometimes mistreated by men. And for all these reasons, and more, he received Neapolitan citizenship – from the then mayor Luigi De Magistris, in July 2017 – and continues to have undying gratitude from the Neapolitans who fully consider him one of them.


However, one difficulty remains for those born in these parts: being able to emerge with the blue shirt. Paolo Cannavaro explained it well, who as captain raised the 2012 Italian Cup, and several times over the years has intervened above all to defend his former partner and friend Lorenzo Insigne: “Unfortunately the Neapolitans are always asking more of their fellow citizens. Someone born here who wears blue can’t go wrong and nothing is forgiven. As happens, rightly, with other players. That’s the way it is and he will never change. Personally, I still have the satisfactions, time has made the past bitterness fade away”.


And the leader with today’s armband comes from Garfagnana, from Castelnuovo to be precise. His story is all blue: from Empoli to Naples, to the national team as champion of Europe. But it is also a path of humility that is well identified in this land: six years ago Giovanni was still playing in Matera, in Lega Pro and with perseverance he got this far: «We are ever closer to our goal, to our dream. Winning in Turin against Juve is never easy for anyone. Being able to bring such a prestigious title to Naples doesn’t happen every day. Of course, we also wanted to continue in the Champions League. We played on an equal footing with Milan, sorry to be eliminated like that but we came out with our heads held high. After that match we immediately started preparing for a comeback in the league. The big teams think like this, they look at what they have to do and not at what happened. We have shown that we are a great team. It feels a little strange to think of being the captain of Napoli, after Maradona, who will lift the Scudetto, it will be incredible. Like all my teammates, I’m enjoying these satisfactions after a positive journey”.