Napoli fires Mazzarri two days before the Champions League match against Barça | Soccer | Sports

This Monday, Naples fired its coach, the Italian Walter Mazarri, and announced what will be its third coach of the season, Francesco Calzona. He is an old acquaintance of the team who will combine his position with that of Slovakia coach until the end of the season and who will make his debut this Wednesday against Barcelona in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

“I thank Walter Mazzarri, a friend of the De Laurentiis family and Napoli, for supporting the team in a complex moment. He will remain in the hearts of Neapolitans and our family,” reported Aurelio de Laurentiis, president of the club, via X, formerly Twitter. “Welcome back to Francesco Calzona, who already worked with us with both Sarri and Spalletti,” added the president. The situation in Naples is being unsustainable this season. Just two days before the Champions League round of 16, Aurelio De Laurentiis dismissed his second coach of the campaign, as Mazzarri was the replacement for Frenchman Rudi García, who started the season.

Mazzarri was unable to reverse the terrible start of his predecessor, whom he replaced in November, and the recent draw against Genoa (1-1), achieved with a goal from Belgian Cyril Ngonge in the last minute, was the trigger for De Laurentiis. I seriously thought again about a change of coach despite the risky situation of handing the team over to a coach without time to work before the duel with Barcelona.

The situation comes after Mazzarri’s poor results, which do not improve those of García. In 17 games played he has won only six, drawn three and lost eight, which places the team ninth in Serie A, 5 points from the European places and 9 from the Champions League. Among the defeats, in addition, are a humiliating elimination in the Italian Cup against Frosinone (0-4), the final of the Italian Super Cup and those of the domestic championship against Inter, Juventus, Roma and Milan.

The identity crisis that the team is going through Neapolitan since the departure of the Italian Luciano Spalletti, current Italy coach who achieved the historic Scudetto of last season, is taking its toll in Naples. The new coach, like Mazzarri and García, has already been part of Napoli before. Calzona was the second of the Italian Maurizio Sarri, current Lazio coach, during his time at Naples (2015-2018); and Luciano Spalletti (2021-22) until he received the call from Slovakia in 2022.

In his time as Slovak coach he has accumulated 14 games, of which he has won seven, drawn four and lost three, which has been enough to qualify Slovakia for the next European Championship. Now the new leader of the Vesuvius bench has training this Tuesday to get to know the squad and prepare for this Wednesday’s momentous match against Barcelona at the Diego Armando Maradona.

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