Napoli coach, Genaro Gattuso, has reportedly dedicated Thursday’s UEFA Europa League 1-0 win at Real Sociedad to club legend, Diego Maradona, in commemoration of his 60th birthday anniversary, oyogist.com reports.
The former Italy midfielder spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport after Matteo Politano’s 55th minute goal secured them the win at Reale Arena, Donostia-San Sebastián in Spain, on the eve of the birthday of Maradona, who was a player of Napoli between 1984 and 1991, weighing in with 81 goals in 188 matches.
“The first thing, is a special dedication: “Maradona turns 60, best wishes from me and the team to the greatest player of all time. Today we played for 50% of the next round. It wasn’t easy to play against them. They didn’t let us play. Liked from a tactical point of view, from a qualitative point of view we can improve,” said Gattuso after the team recorded their first win at the group stage of Europe’s second-tier club competition.
Maradona is said to be the greatest player to have donned the Napoli shirt in their history. With the help of the football icon, Napoli won their second Serie A title in the 1989-1990 season, having earlier finished runners-up twice in 1987-1988 and 1988-1988 seasons. The 1990 World Cup winnner with Argentina also help the club win Coppa Italia in 1987 and finished runners-up in 1989, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Super Cup in 1990.
Despite primarily playing in a creative role as an attacking midfielder, Maradona was the top scorer in Serie A in 1987-1988, with 15 goals, and was the all-time leading goalscorer for Napoli, with 115 goals, until his record was broken by Marek Hamsik in 2017.