Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis appeared to aim a dig at Serie A leaders Juventus and their signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, urging his club to think of the “right recipe” for success rather than spending heavily.
Juve are in pole position to win an eighth successive Scudetto, as they lead Napoli by 13 points at the top of Serie A with 14 games to go.
They completed the blockbuster €112million signing of Ronaldo from Real Madrid last July and he has rewarded them with 19 league goals in his debut season.
De Laurentiis, however, claims Napoli would not risk spending such a sizeable fee in pursuit of trophies, telling Sky Sport Italia: “There is this habitual feeling of the fans being disappointed in the stadium. We’ll fight to the end.
“If someone falters at the first hurdle, then he is a failure in life. If he doesn’t want to be a failure, he keeps fighting to the end. It’s not just he who finishes first that wins. We all win if we play with capability and fervour.
“Sorry, but if I had created a 200million debt to sign one player, what would be the point in winning? Let’s think of the right recipe for success, here.”
Napoli have been drawn against Red Bull Salzburg in the last 16 of the Europa League, and could face Chelsea and their former boss Maurizio Sarri in the final in May should they progress to Baku.
Sarri’s future at Chelsea is under scrutiny following a poor run of results, and De Laurentiis appeared to poke fun at the 60-year-old’s predicament, saying: “It would be fun to play Chelsea in the final, assuming of course that Sarri can hang on that long…!”
However, he added: “I hope he does stay there and do very well, because Sarri loves his work to the point of madness. At times this can lead him to lose his temper, but that is to be respected.
“Sarri gave a great deal to Napoli. Some might not always be able to share his vision of football, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses, otherwise we would not be human.”