SportsItaly barks, Naples rides

Italy barks, Naples rides

We do not choose the link with a team. It arrives without more. Generally by affective or geographical proximity. You are from the club of your city. Or the one that was your father. That’s why when he’s missing, every damn game reminds you of him. The issue becomes more artificial if you change countries and try to find an emotional reason to follow each local football game. It’s time to choose colors consciously for the first time. And there are things that help. In Italy, for example, there is a club that plays a derby almost every weekend. A team that practically everyone else hates and whose fans endure some kind of racist insult every Sunday. The last episode took place a week ago in Verona, where the tifosi The Venetians placed a banner with geographical coordinates next to the Russian and Ukrainian flags. As if to say, aim well, that’s where you have to launch the missile. If you entered them into the GPS, you discovered that it was the latitude of Naples.

The good thing is that Diego Armando Maradona doesn’t give a damn. There is a historic fight with Verona to see who spends more bad blood. Some time ago at the San Paolo they responded with a banner that read: Giulietta is a zoccola [”Julieta es una puta”]. They were referring, of course, to Shakespeare’s character whose universal love story took place in Verona and which each citizen considers to be his own daughter. The slaps fly. But every weekend there is one of the worst taste towards the Neapolitan fans. The most recurrent is that of “Vesuvius, wash them with fire”. It is the old racist and northern idea that Neapolitans are dirty, that they shout, that they don’t know how to behave. It is the chant that Salvini also used when his party called for the independence of northern Italy and did not need the votes of the south to fuel his political antics. Flea market supremacy. But also a widespread impression in Italy.

A Neapolitan only plays at home when he is in Naples. And sometimes not even that (there is a Juventino in every corner). In recent years that hatred has not stopped growing. Lazio, Inter, Milan, Juventus, Verona… Even Roma, whose hobbies were twinned not so long ago. There is nothing like it in other leagues. And it is a widespread feeling outside of football as well. From north to south. Because the Parthenopeans also have their troubles with the Sicilians or the Calabrians. That is why the city is a fabulous and indecipherable island within the country. And that is why many treat them as in Spain we have mistreated the gypsies for years. Like a foreign body for what is appropriate at all times, sometimes forgetting the enormous contribution of titans like Totò, Eduardo de Filippo, Caruso, Benedetto Croce, Starnone… or Bud Spencer. That is why Maradona fell in love with a team and a city that represented the disinherited and the lifelong swim upriver like no other. And that’s why Sorrentino’s life was saved by an Empoli-Naples.

The truth is that they make noise. And that they are able to hold a longer time shield than it took them to lift it. They have learned to make fun of the bile and the bad living of so many other stands. To ride while they bark at them: they are the joke, the irony. And they are everywhere. In any Italian city there are 10,000 of them willing to do whatever it takes. If you look at the list of winners, they will tell you that it was Maradona and little else. But there is no other team capable of returning from hell – for several seasons they were just a promissory note that suffered in the fourth division – and aspire to the shield (On Saturday they came from behind against Udinese with two goals from Osimhen and placed second with eight games to go until the end of the season). If you arrive in Italy and don’t have equipment, cover your ears well. It is a deafening noise and somewhat annoying, but capable of convincing any indecisive person.

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