With Napoli’s incredible form during the 2022/23 domestic Italian Serie A campaign seeing them lift their first league title in 33 years under the charge of Luciano Spalletti, his departure at the end of the season (so he could take time out of the game) was a significant blow to their hopes of taking an unlikely consecutive set of Scudetto’s.
Frenchman, 59 year old, Rudi Garcia was appointed over the summer as his replacement, but with them falling ten points behind league leaders Inter Milan in the 2023/24 season, as speculation a few weeks ago suggested, he has now been sacked from his role, but contrary to the more vocal rumours doing the rounds, Walter Mazzarri has now walked back through the door, taking the job on until after the final game of the year.
62 year old Italian, Mazzarri, is a well known face at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium as he previously managed the club back between the years of 2009 and 2013, and he had some good success with them, lifting the 2012 Copa Italia with victory over undefeated league champions Juventus in the final, to hand them their first trophy in the last 20 years. A year later he led them into second place in the Serie A, and in securing the runners up spot and a Champions League place for the following season, it was their highest league finish in over two decades.
Few will be expecting Mazzarri to come in and work miracles this year, but it is probably a sensible approach to try and stabilise the club and then reassess over the summer when not only will their future challenges be known for 2024/25, but there will also be greater clarity on other issues like, what will Victor Osimhen’s future be, as the Nigerian’s own good form continues this year but there have been one or two public relations hiccups in more recent months.
It has largely been a season of disappointment for fans of the Partenopei, and the returning Mazzarri comes back to the club with them sat in fourth place in the table, having been beaten most recently by 17th placed Empoli last weekend, which seems to have been the final straw for Garcia. He departs with a record of eight wins, four draws and four defeats, and he will feel hard done by in many ways, as that is not a bad record really, but expectations after last season were just too high it seems.
It will be interesting to see if Mazzarri gets another run with them now.