The Ultimate Napoli Team: Cavani And Maradona In But No Spot For Higuain
Several all-time greats are included in Napoli’s all-time best XI.
Some of the finest footballers we’ve ever seen have called Napoli, an Italian powerhouse, home.
If you didn’t already know, Diego Maradona once extolled the virtues of Naples, and rest assured that he wasn’t the first one to do so.
Some of the most technically brilliant footballers have worn the fabled blue of Napoli over the years, and now we want to assemble the finest XI in their history.
GK: Dino Zoff
Dino Zoff is the only athlete from Italy to have ever captured both the European Championship and the World Cup. The storied goalkeeper made 143 Serie A matches for Napoli after moving from Mantova in 1967.
Zoff’s career highlights included winning nine trophies with Juventus after joining them in 1972.
There are three further Napoli goalkeepers who merit praise.
Ottavio Bugatti is first. The Italian goalkeeper joined Napoli in 1953 after leaving SPAL, and he played 256 times for them up to 1961 before switching to Inter.
Luciano Castellini is the second goalkeeper. Before transferring to Napoli in 1978, the Italian goalkeeper competed in 267 games for Torino in all competitions. Castellini played 203 Serie A games for Naples. He also held the record for 531 uninterrupted minutes without losing. Afterward, Dino Zoff broke this record.
Pepe Reina would come in third. The Spaniard initially spent a season on loan at Napoli from Liverpool in 2013. He was signed by Bayern Munich in 2014, but after just one season there, he returned to Naples in 2015. He played for the team for over century games before being released in 2018. With Napoli, Reina won the 2013–14 Coppa Italia.
RB: Giuseppe Bruscolotti
Giuseppe Bruscolotti, one of the best players and the captain of Napoli’s 1987 Serie A champion squad, plays right back for this fantasy squad.
The defender moved from Sorrento to Naples in 1972, and throughout his 16 years there, he made over 500 appearances for the team in all competitions, with 387 of those coming in Serie A.
He won a league title, two Coppa Italia trophies, and an Anglo-Italian League Cup during his time at Naples, totaling five trophies.
Three more players in Napoli’s Dream Team should be included, thus there is fierce competition for this slot.
The first is Christian Maggio, who transferred from Sampdoria to Napoli in 2008. During his ten years with Naples, he made over 300 appearances and won two Coppa Italia championships, and a Supercoppa Italiana.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo is the second person. The right-back who won Euro 2020 joined Napoli from Empoli in 2019 and has played more than 120 times for the team. He was a member of the squad that captured the 2019–20 Coppa Italia.
And last but not least is Elseid Hysaj. Similar to Di Lorenzo, Albanian international Hysaj moved from Empoli in 2015 instead of 2014. He remained at Naples until 2021 and played 223 times for the team.
CB: Alessandro Renica
Alessandro Renica excelled at playing as a sweeper and, on occasion, a full-back and earned numerous awards while playing for Napoli.
The Italian defender made 136 games for Napoli after moving from Sampdoria in 1985. While he was in defense, his tactical prowess and leadership helped the Naples-based team win two Serie A championships, a Uefa Cup, a Coppa Italia, and a Supercoppa Italiana.
A couple of additional center backs, beginning with Kalidou Koulibaly, might be used in this situation. The Senegalese defender signed with Napoli in 2014, where he played for eight years before moving on to Chelsea in 2022. He played more than 300 games with Naples, where he won the Supercoppa Italiana in 2014 and the Coppa Italia in 2019–20.
Paolo Cannavaro is the next center-back deserving of a mention in this sentence. Prior to signing with Parma in 1999, the Italian defender graduated from Napoli’s academy and even made two professional appearances for them during his initial stint. He went back to Napoli in 2006 and made 236 appearances for the team up until 2014. He also served as club captain and assisted Napoli in gaining promoted to Serie A in 2007.
CB: Moreno Ferrario
Moreno Ferrario, the third-highest appearance maker in Napoli history, joined the team from Varese in 1977, playing 311 Serie A games for them, and made over 400 appearances across all competitions until 1988.
He participated in the club’s 1986–1987 Serie A and Coppa Italia victories. In 1988, Ferrario joined Roma.
Our ideal team at center-back may possibly include two additional superstars.
Initially, Raul Albiol. The Spaniard moved to Napoli in 2013 from Real Madrid, where he spent six years and made 180 Serie A games. During his tenure there, he won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana.
Second, between 2009 and 2013, Hugo Campagnaro made 143 appearances for the team in all competitions after moving from Sampdoria to Naples. In the 2011–12 campaign, he helped Napoli win the Coppa Italia.
LB: Ciro Ferrara
Ciro Ferrara, a club legend for both Napoli and Juventus, advanced through Napoli’s development system before being called up to the first squad.
In a ten-year span between 1984 and 1994, the left defender made nearly 250 appearances for Napoli.
Ferrera played key roles during his stay in Naples, helping Napoli win the 1989 Uefa Cup final by scoring one of their goals.
Together with the Uefa Cup, he also won the 1987 Coppa Italia, 1990 Supercoppa Italiana, two Serie A championships with Napoli (in 1986–87 and 1989–90), and the Uefa Cup. In 1994, Ferrara joined Juventus.
Ruud Krol and Giovanni Francini, two famous left-backs, should be included.
The first defender was Krol, who transferred from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Napoli in 1980 and played in Italy until 1984, accumulating 107 games. Although not take home any awards while playing for Naples, the two-time World Cup runner-up was among their finest players.
In 1987, Torino’s Giovanni Francini transferred to Maradona’s Napoli. He spent seven years in Naples, making 184 games, winning the Serie A, the Supercoppa Italiana, the Uefa Cup, and making it to the Coppa Italia final.
CM: Antonio Juliano
Antonio Juliano, one of Napoli’s best players, helped his team and Italy win championships in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, he appeared for Napoli the third-most times, behind only Marek Hamsik and Bruscolotti, two other players on this Napoli dream team.
Between 1962 and 1978, Juliano made 394 appearances for Napoli and took home three championships from the team.
Pierluigi Ronzon is his teammate in this ideal group.
Between 1952 and 1968, Ronzon played for some of the finest Italian clubs, including Sampdoria, Atalanta, Milan, Napoli, and Lazio, although he is best known for his time in Naples.
He moved from Milan to Napoli in 1961 and made 200 appearances for the team up to 1967. His cup-winning goal against Spal 1907 in the 1961–1962 Coppa Italia final cemented his place in club history because it marked the first time in history that a club from Serie B had won the Coppa Italia.
CM: Marek Hamsik
Marek Hamsik forged an amazing attacking combination with Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens after joining Napoli in 2007, two players who are also on our dream team.
The center of Napoli’s midfield for 12 seasons was the Slovakian midfielder. A fantastic production for someone who played deep in midfield, he also scored more than 10 goals in eight of the 12 seasons he played for the team.
Hamsik broke records for appearances (520) and goals (121) across all competitions while assisting Napoli to win two Coppa Italia titles and a Supercoppa Italiana. Hamsik’s goal-scoring record was later surpassed by Dries Mertens after he departed the club in 2019.
Fernando De Napoli, another legendary member of Napoli, is present with Hamsik. The midfielder moved to Naples in 1986 and played for the team for six years, appearing in 241 games.
He was a frequent member of the golden generation team that, between 1986 and 1990, included Diego Maradona and won four major trophies in four seasons.
De Napoli won the Scudetto in 1987 and 1990, the Coppa Italia in 1987, the Uefa Cup in 1989, and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1990 during his six-year stay in Naples.
RW: Dries Merterns
As Ezequiel Lavezzi left for PSG in 2012, Napoli’s choice of wide players decreased. In order to address that void, they acquired Dries Mertens from PSV Eindhoven in 2013, making him manager Rafa Benitez’s first acquisition.
After making more than 300 appearances for the team, the Belgian maestro went on to become one of Napoli’s all-time greatest legends.
With Napoli, Mertens won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in 2014. He was also chosen to the 2016–17 Serie A Team of the Year. When he scored his 122nd goal for the team in 2020, he surpassed Marek Hamsik to become Napoli’s all-time leading scorer.
Lavezzi dominated Napoli’s right wing before Mertens’ arrival. The Argentine winger moved to Naples from San Lorenzo in 2007 and played there until 2012. On May 20, 2012, when they defeated Juventus 2-0 in the Coppa Italia final, he won his first trophy with the club.
Napoli’s first prize in more than 20 years was this one. Lavezzi led Napoli to 188 victories in all competitions while tallying 48 goals and 57 assists.
CAM: Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona left Barcelona after two forgettable seasons and joined Napoli in 1984. He remained there until 1991.
Napoli was able to end the dominance of teams like Milan, Juventus, Inter, and Roma during his tenure at the club. In addition, no team had previously claimed the league championship in the southern region of the Italian Peninsula. After Maradona got to Naples, everything was about to change.
The Argentine led Napoli to their first-ever Serie A Italian Championship in 1986–87, and he quickly moved to the position of the greatest player in club history.
During the Maradona era, Napoli won the Coppa Italia in 1987, the Uefa Cup in 1989, and the Italian Super Cup in 1990 in addition to two Serie A championships (1986–87 and 1989–90).
Maradona scored a penalty and assisted the game-winning goal in the first leg of the 1989 Uefa Cup final against Stuttgart, which Argentina won 2-1 at home. In the second leg, which ended in a 3-3 draw away from home, Maradona provided a header assist for Ferrara’s goal.
Prior to Marek Hamsik breaking the record in 2017, Maradona had 115 goals for Napoli between 1984 and 1991, making him the club’s all-time best scorer.
LW: Lorenzo Insigne
Lorenzo Insigne, one of the most adored Napoli players of all time, was raised and born in Naples. Insigne made his Napoli debut in the 2009–10 campaign, but it wasn’t until the 2012–13 campaign that he started to play regularly for the team.
As the tournament’s leading scorer in 2013, he contributed to Napoli’s victory in the Coppa Italia. In the 2019–20 season, he helped the team win another Coppa Italia.
For Napoli, Insigne is fifth in both appearances (397) and goals (107) scored. In 2022, he departed the team to join Toronto FC.
Jose Callejon, a player who played with Insigne at Napoli, deserves to be mentioned in this dream team.
The Spaniard joined Naples from Real Madrid in 2013 and played with the team until 2020, making 349 games, contributing 79 assists and scoring 82 goals. Callejon won two Italian Cups and one Italian Super Cup while playing for Napoli.
SF: Edison Cavani
In Naples, few can match Edinson Cavani’s legacy. In 2010, the Uruguayan beast made his way from Palermo to Napoli on a temporary loan. He scored 26 goals in 35 games during his first season, which led Napoli to make his move there permanently in 2011.
Before being recruited by PSG in 2013, Cavani stayed with Naples until 2013, collecting 104 goals in just 138 games across all competitions. He and Napoli won the Italian Cup.
We are ready to offer a huge shoutout to up to four other fantastic strikers.
First, the 2013 acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain, an Argentine attacker, by Napoli from Real Madrid for €39 million. He tied Gino Rossetti’s 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season in 2015–16 with 36 league goals, collecting the Capocannoniere award.
Before being acquired by Juventus for €90 million in 2016, Higuain made 146 appearances for Napoli and scored 91 goals in all competitions. At Naples, he won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.
The next player is Attila Sallustro, who was so devoted to representing Napoli that he refused to accept payment for his services. Between 1926 and 1937, he made 258 appearances for the team and scored 107 goals. Nonetheless, Napoli once gave him an expensive present as appreciation for his services.
Gianfranco Zola, who joined Napoli in 1989 and stayed there until 1993, is the third striker in this group. During his time at the club, he scored 36 goals in 135 games across all competitions. In his first season with the club, he and Diego Maradona both contributed to the team’s Serie A victory.
Careca, who was Zola’s attack partner at Napoli in the early 1990s, comes in last. After joining the team in 1987, he made 221 games and netted 96 goals. With Napoli, he won the Serie A, the Uefa Cup, and the Italian Super Cup.