HomeDe Laurentiis confirms Mazzarri out, Calzona in at Napoli

De Laurentiis confirms Mazzarri out, Calzona in at Napoli

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Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed he has fired head coach Walter Mazzarri after just three months at the helm, with former assistant Francesco Calzona taking over on an interim basis.

Having initially coached Napoli between 2009 and 2013, winning the 2012 edition of the Coppa Italia, Mazzarri returned to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in November after Rudi Garcia was dismissed.

However, he failed to oversee an upturn in the Partenopei’s fortunes as their dismal Scudetto defence went from bad to worse.

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Napoli stood 10 points behind Serie A leaders Inter when Mazzarri took charge, but that gap now stands at 27 points, with the defending champions slipping to ninth in the table.

On Monday, two days out from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona, reports suggested Napoli were set to sack Mazzarri and bring in Slovakia boss Calzona on a short-term contract.

De Laurentiis told reporters that change had been made later that day, before thanking Mazzarri in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, De Laurentiis said: “It’s painful to sack a friend but we need to give more to the fans. Now let’s help Calzona, without conflict.

“It will always be very complicated to prepare in 24 hours for a difficult match against an important team like Barcelona. They have great players and they are always Barcelona.

“Calzona will come here to the hotel, we’ll talk for a long time. I’ll introduce him to the players even if he doesn’t need introductions to all the guys.

“We need time to concentrate on the serious things in football, to prepare well for the match against Barcelona.”

Calzona served as Maurizio Sarri’s number two in Naples between 2015 and 2018, then returned to the club as part of Luciano Spalletti’s backroom staff for 2021-22.

According to widespread reports, Calzona will remain in charge of Slovakia alongside his new temporary role, having successfully led the national team to Euro 2024 qualification.

Slovakia will begin their Group E campaign against Belgium in Frankfurt on June 17, before facing a still-to-be-determined play-off winner and Romania in their other group games.

The 55-year-old will be tasked with ensuring Napoli qualify for Europe over the coming months, with Mazzarri leaving the team nine points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta and five behind Roma in sixth.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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