Can Napoli end 13 years of Champions League hurt for Serie A?
The Serie A title already looks in the bag for Napoli. And now with a favourable draw in the Champions League, could the 2022/23 season turn out to be the best yet in the history of this famous Italian club?
Napoli has seen great days in the past. Most notably in the 80s when the great Diego Maradona led them to two Serie A titles – this in an era when Serie A was arguably the strongest league in Europe.
It's this photo of Maradona, after Napoli win their first Serie A title in 1987, for me. pic.twitter.com/Ip6opK6AXf
— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) November 25, 2020
Since the great days under Maradona, the club went into decline. This culminated with bankruptcy and subsequent relegation to Serie C in 2004. Since that low point, the club has slowly rebuilt and now is on the verge of winning its third-ever Scudetto.
Under the guidance of Luciano Spalletti, Napoli has opened up a huge gap at the top of Serie A. Only a capitulation of enormous proportions could see the Gli Azzurri not winning the championship. Such is the size of their lead, even the bookmakers have stopped taking bets on them winning the Italian title.
Can Napoli win their first-ever Champions League?
But can Napoli make 2023 a more successful year and also win the Champions League crown? The bookmakers are certainly giving them a chance. In the betting to win Europe’s elite club competition, Manchester City is the favourite at 9/4, then it’s Napoli and Bayern Munich, who are joint second in the betting at 10/3.
In the outright markets for Champions League final betting, Napoli is even money to get to the final. That makes them the favourites in this market, and this is helped by the fact that their two closest betting rivals, Man City and Bayern Munich, have been drawn to play each other in the quarter-final. This all adds to the belief that this could be Napoli’s year.
Is Serie A due to a Champions League win?
Over the years Italian football has been rightly respected as one of the top leagues in Europe. But when the 2023 Champions League final takes place in Istanbul this June, it will be 13 long years since an Italian team won the prestigious trophy. That’s way too long.
Back in 2010, Inter Milan lifted the trophy under the guidance of Jose Mourinho. But since that glorious night in Madrid, no other Italian side has managed to win the title. Following the recent draw for this year’s quarter-finals paired Manchester City and Bayern Munich together, the chances of an Italian winner have dramatically increased.
🇪🇸 Real Madrid vs Chelsea 🏴
🇵🇹 Benfica vs Inter 🇮🇹
🏴 Man City vs Bayern 🇩🇪
🇮🇹 Milan vs Napoli 🇮🇹
*FC Internazionale Milano's match has been reversed in accordance with the principles set by the Club Competitions Committee. #UCLdraw pic.twitter.com/m1gMqFs1fV
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 17, 2023
Furthermore, Napoli’s opponents in the quarter-final are fellow Serie A rivals, Milan. After dominating Serie A this season, Spalletti’s side will go into that tie as favourites. And if they overcome Milan, it’s either Internazionale or Benfica waiting for the Gli Azzurri in the semi-final. The draw has really opened up for the runaway leaders of Serie A. Will they ever have a better chance of reaching, and winning, a Champions League final?