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Simeone: ‘Maradona is everywhere in Naples’

Napoli striker Giovanni Simeone says Naples is ‘wonderful’ and the spirit of Diego Maradona still exists in the city: ‘he is no longer here but it is as if he were there.’ The Argentine forward talked to La Nacion about joining Napoli in the summer, the national team and the importance of Maradona:

It’s wonderful (in Naples). Everyone talks to you about Diego. Everyone tells you they experienced something with Diego. They tell you with passion, as if it happened to them just yesterday and maybe it was in the 90s. Diego is no longer here but it’s as if he were here.

They have him there all the time, every day. People still suffer the difference between north and south. Diego has saved them from oblivion. It is a joy for them that goes beyond football. This is such a passionate city, to have Diego among them is a great pride.

The people have a big heart, they give themselves fully. Diego has given them light and hope, he has convinced them that they can fight against the mighty north. That is what they tell you every day. He has left his mark forever.

Now many people tell me: ‘Since we won’t be in this World Cup, we will all be Argentinians’. A lot is expected of our team in Qatar and it is thanks to Diego. Argentina is part of this city.

Beyond the greatness, how competitive the club is, there was something inside me that told me it was Napoli, I had to come here. Negotiations stalled at one point, yet I never moved an inch from my desire, I wanted to go to Napoli.

I never felt like I did here, at Napoli. I felt ready to compete in a really big team, to win. The time has come and I feel ready.

The Champions League? I got carried away by the magic of the moment. I had dreamt of it and wished for it many times. So, in a way, others saw what I had already experienced.”

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