Carlo Ancelotti said the idea of taking Napoli back to the top convinced him to join the Azzurri in the summer.
Napoli last won Serie A in 1990. They posted a new record number of 91 points for a single season for a runner-up in Italy’s top flight under Maurizio Sarri last season, as they fell four points short of champions Juventus.
Ancelotti knows what it takes to win Serie A, having triumphed with AC Milan in 2004. He also won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2010, Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain in 2013 and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2017, having clinched his third Champions League title with Real Madrid in 2014.
As such, he was a coach in demand after being sacked by Bayern last year, but he says the challenge of returning home to Italy and restoring Napoli to the glory days they last enjoyed when Diego Maradona was playing for them enticed him back.
“I decided to come to Napoli above all for my desire to return to Italy and get back to speaking Italian, but then of course I was convinced by this club’s project,” he told DAZN. “Napoli are a side with a lot of quality, but they have not yet reached the highest step, despite going close.
“With my ability, I hope I can take this club onto that highest step.”
Napoli face AC Milan and one of Ancelotti’s former players Gennaro Gattuso this weekend. The pair enjoyed success together at the Rossoneri and Ancelotti says he is not surprised to see the 40-year-old now in the dugout.
“In certain ways, I could have imagined he would have become a coach, but in other ways I wouldn’t have,” Ancelottti added. “What drives people who do this job is their passion and he managed to build a great career on this.
“In terms of character, he’s always the same and you can see that in the way his team plays: always alert, compact, aggressive and organised — just like Gattuso was as a player.”
Due to Milan’s opening fixture with Genoa being postponed last weekend, the Rossoneri head to Naples on Saturday night with a three-point deficit on their hosts, who started their campaign with a 2-1 win at Lazio.