Napoli fans celebrated the Italian league soccer title under a giant mural of Diego Maradona, singing, jumping, and lighting flares as if they were at the game.
Tributes to the club’s most emblematic player were everywhere on the other side of Naples, at the stadium now named for Maradona, including his image on banners, flags, and scarves, and his No. 10 on the back of shirts.
After the Partenopei sealed their first league title since Maradona led the club to the 1987 and 1990 championships, Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti acknowledged that the late Argentina standout’s legacy had made a difference.
“These fans have seen big coaches come and go. They saw Diego Armando Maradona play and perhaps his (impact) is also felt in this success,” Spalletti said.
Unlike the Maradona years, however, this Napoli title wasn’t about a single player but rather a well-run unit that often overwhelmed opponents with standouts in every department: league scoring leader Victor Osimhen at center forward, league assist leader Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at left wing, passing expert Stanislav Lobotka in central midfield and physical presence Kim Min-jae at center back — not to mention their veteran coach.
Napoli clinched the trophy with a 1-1 draw at Udinese on Thursday.
Osimhen equalized for Napoli early in the second half by redirecting in a rebound after Sandi Lovric had put Udinese ahead early on.
“I’m happy for all Napoli fans worldwide,” Osimhen said. “No one deserves the scudetto more than Neapolitans — more than us.
“I don’t care who scored, I just wanted to get the scudetto.”
Napoli moved an insurmountable 16 points ahead of second-place Lazio with five rounds still to play.