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Napoli Set to Sack Head Coach Prior to UCL Fixture Against Barcelona



Napoli Set to Sack Head Coach Prior to UCL Fixture Against Barcelona

Reports Indicate Serie A Champions Napoli to Replace Head Coach for Second Time in 2023/2024 Season

Napoli, the defending champion in the Italian league, is facing the possibility of a second coaching change this season as they prepare to take on Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday. Reports from Italian media suggest that coach Walter Mazzarri might be dismissed before the first leg, following a disappointing 1-1 draw against Genoa on Saturday.

Mazzarri took over from Rudi Garcia in November, but Napoli’s performance under his management has been underwhelming, accumulating only 15 points in 12 Serie A matches, a record worse than his predecessor. Garcia was relieved of his duties after securing 21 points from 12 matches, with Napoli in fourth place, trailing league leader Inter Milan by 10 points. Currently, Napoli finds itself in ninth place, 27 points behind Inter and out of the European qualifying positions.

The team, once a formidable force that clinched the Serie A title last season, has struggled to replicate its previous success. Garcia had succeeded Luciano Spalletti, the title-winning coach, who left for a year-long sabbatical before being appointed as the coach of Italy’s national team following Roberto Mancini’s resignation. Francesco Calzona, a former assistant to Spalletti and a favored candidate for the Napoli job, had departed Napoli in 2022 to become Slovakia’s coach.

Calzona, who played a significant role in Napoli’s coaching staff from 2015-18 during Maurizio Sarri’s tenure, is set to be appointed until the end of the season, as per Italian media. Interestingly, he is expected to continue his duties as Slovakia’s coach concurrently. Calzona, aged 55, played a key role in Slovakia’s qualification for the upcoming European Championship, marking his first stint as a head coach.