E fatto. It happened. Napoli is champion of Italy for the first time in 33 years after a 1-1 draw against Udinese. Naples is preparing for one long weekend of celebrations.
Napoli can call itself the best team in Italy for the first time in 33 years. For the third time in its history, after the titles in 1987 and 1990. And for the first time without Diego Armando Maradona. When he was last allowed to put the cup in the air, none of the current players had been born yet. So historic.
The Maradonas, Carecas and Carnevales of 2023 listen to names such as Khvicha Kvaratshkelia, Kim Min-jae and Piotr Zielinski. However, the maker of the historic title goal became someone with a Belgian link. Not Dries Mertens – what would he have felt tonight? – but Victor Osimhen, the former top scorer of Charleroi. It was the Nigerian, who was forwarded to Zulte Waregem and Club Brugge in the not so distant past, who eventually shot Napoli to the national title. Osimhen was good for no less than 22 goals and five assists this season. Together with Kvaratshkelia – twelve goals and twelve assists – he is one of the absolute key players in this historic title. The nickname Kvaradona is more than ever appropriate for the latter.
However, Napoli made it more exciting than necessary against Udinese for a long time. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis (73) is a film producer. Are players not averse to a thriller. The visitors faced an early deficit in Udine after a great goal from Sandi Lovric. Napoli remained the better team after that deficit, but failed to create opportunities for a long time. In minute 51, Osimhen took care of the redeeming equalizer after a messy phase. A nice goal? Far from. But no one cared about that for a long time.
The thirteen thousand Neapolitans in Udine made the Dacia Arena explode, with a striking number of light blue spots in the home sections. Eight hundred kilometers away, the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples was filled with ten giant screens and sixty thousand crazy Neapolitans. After Osimhen’s goal, the streets filled up. When Napoli thought they had scored the title goal against Salernitana (1-1) last weekend, it caused an earthquake of 2 on the Richter scale around Mount Vesuvius. What would have been the final whistle on Thursday evening?