With the current icy front between Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis and coach Gennaro Gattuso, Football Italia takes a look at the patron’s relationship with previous tacticians.

Sky Sport Italia reported yesterday that Gattuso’s stint in Naples could end in June and the tense relationship between the President and the coach has been openly manifested in recent days.

With the current icy front between Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis and coach Gennaro Gattuso, Football Italia takes a look at the patron’s relationship with previous tacticians.

Sky Sport Italia reported yesterday that Gattuso’s stint in Naples could end in June and the tense relationship between the President and the coach has been openly manifested in recent days.

The President, who took over the Partenopei in September 2004, has not been sacking coaches like some of his colleagues in the League, but there have been moments of reported tension between the boss and his head coach from Gian Piero Ventura to Carlo Ancelotti.

Ventura coached Napoli for 19 games from July to January in 2004-05. According to reports from the time, the coach stepped down and was ready to work as a manager behind the scenes and it seemed to be a mutual decision of resignation, but Il Messaggero revealed the patron, 10 years later, spoke of Ventura as an already outdated coach when he was at Napoli.

Edoardo Reja arrived in January 2005 and spent four years of ups and downs with the Partenopei. Even if the two parted ways like gentlemen and always speak of a mutual respect for each other, there were turbulence during the 75-year-old’s time with the club. Reports of an altercation in the dressing room leading to Reja resigning after confronting De Laurentiis for ‘only showing up when things are going well’. He stayed on for another year and said the ‘resignation’ stories were lies, but accepted the sacking when the club struggled under his reign in 2009.

Roberto Donadoni then took over in March 2009, but his period with the Azzurri was brief and oversaw a controversial transfer market before it ended on a bad note. After his dismissal, the coach said De Laurentiis ‘understands football as much as I understand cinema’ and the digs kept coming from both sides after the coach had left. The President said the team had been left in poor shape and Donadoni was eager to clear his conscience by sharing all the information during his time with the club.

Walter Mazzarri had, according to the President, a difficult job in succeeding Donadoni at the helm. After a controversial appointment, Mazzarri’s stint in Naples saw continuous indirect quarrels, sharp comments and funny moments. De Laurentiis felt betrayed when Mazzarri was being linked with a move to Juventus in 2011 and the coach had to defend his position in the media.

Mazzarri helped Napoli to the knockout stages of the Champions League but struggled to compete in the League, blaming the low salaries on offer and thus the lack of quality. The jibes and digs kept on going throughout Mazzarri’s time with the Partenopei, which eventually came to an end after 182 matches in May 2013.

Rafael Benitez stepped up and accepted the task of continuing the improvements made under Mazzarri, but the subtle quarrels continued internally. De Laurentiis was careful in his comments on Benitez’s work when the former Liverpool coach was in charge but has been more outspoken about the tactician after they split in June 2015.

The coach helped De Laurentiis pick up the Coppa Italia in 2013-14 and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2014, but the patron claimed ‘those who worked with us blocked the growth of the project’, in a press conference in January 2016 and had also talked about the coach’s strange decisions on the transfer market.

In the media, however, it was only one real crisis. In the spring of 2015, the club forced the players in a retreat and Benitez didn’t agree.

Maurizio Sarri arrived and helped Napoli push for the Scudetto, but never quite reached the top with the former Empoli coach. The football on display was applauded and the coach was linked with top jobs across Europe. In the end, Sarri was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti before he had been sacked.

“I asked until the end what his intensions were but, since in a rather rude way he didn’t even listen to me, I went with Ancelotti,” De Laurentiis said, according to Il Mattino. The comment highlighted a tense end to Sarri’s stint. De Laurentiis later told Il Corriere dello Sport that Sarri ‘forced me to change coach’ and undermined the brilliance of the coach by claiming that ‘there are other factors, like excellent directors and producers’ in the background.

Carlo Ancelotti took over and only one and a half seasons later, he was officially sacked by the club. The turbulence in his second season with the Partenopei made De Laurentiis search for his successor in December. The players protested a forced retreat and reports of clashes between directors and players in the dressing room covered the columns in the sports pages. Ancelotti voiced his disagreement, helped the club reach the last 16 of the Champions League before he was sacked and swiftly moved on to take over at Everton.

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