Di Lorenzo becomes 1st Napoli player to lift Serie A trophy in 33 years

Sun, Jun 4, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Di Lorenzo becomes 1st Napoli player to lift Serie A trophy in 33 years

MILAN (AP) - As Giovanni Di Lorenzo became the first Napoli player to lift the Serie A trophy toward the sky since Diego Maradona, the stadium named after the Argentina great exploded into a sea of joy.

Napoli had clinched its first Serie A title in 33 years with five rounds to spare but had to wait until the final day of the season to be presented with the trophy, in front of its own fans at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Players danced joyously as they each took their turns lifting up the scudetto, while the song "We Are The Champions" was played.

Napoli signed off from a stunning season with a 2-0 win over already-relegated Sampdoria, in a match where on-the-field action mattered little.

Sunday saw another round of festivities in Naples, a city that hasn't really stopped celebrating since even before Napoli clinched the title.

And, just like most of the past month, the streets were packed with joyous Napoli fans, chanting and waving flags, and the air was tinged in blue - the team's colors - from flares.


There was also an incredible atmosphere inside the stadium, with the fans singing incessantly - mainly about being champions of Italy.

Luciano Spalletti, who announced at the start of the week that he is leaving the team, was presented with the coach of the year trophy before kickoff, while winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia received his player of the season award.

Kim Min-jae and Victor Osimhen were also given trophies for best defender and forward, respectively.

The players also walked out carrying their children. Osimhen's son was wearing a smaller copy of the face mask his father wears during matches.

Osimhen set Napoli on the way to victory against Sampdoria with a penalty. It was his 26th league goal and the Nigeria international was the first African player to be crowned top Serie A goalscorer.

Giovanni Simeone doubled Napoli's lead with a stunning strike and celebrated by holding up a shirt with the No. 10 on it that Maradona wore in an actual match.

It was also an emotional match for veteran Sampdoria forward Fabio Quagliarella, who brought an end to his Serie A career at his hometown club.

Quagliarella cried through most of the warmup but managed to hold back the tears when he was substituted to a standing ovation late on. The 40-year-old player hugged everyone on his way off, including those on the bench from both teams.

There were five matches still to play Sunday, with Hellas Verona and Spezia fighting to avoid relegation as they visit AC Milan and Roma, respectively.

Milan will be bidding farewell to veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


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