Di Lorenzo talks Napoli captaincy, squad overhaul and World Cup blues

New captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo reflected on the changes at Napoli following the departures of fan favourites Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly.

The Partenopei have had an interesting summer, saying goodbye to a number of mainstays including Insigne, Koulibaly and Mertens as they usher in a new era in the Campania capital. Aurelio De Laurentiis made his desire to rejuvenate the squad clear and so far only players under the age of 26 have been signed.

Speaking to Il Roma, Di Lorenzo first discussed how it felt to have the captain’s armband at Napoli and if he expected it.

“It’s quite a responsibility. But I take it gladly. I am happy with it. Now it’s up to me to prove I’ve earned it.

“At first I didn’t think about it because Koulibaly was Lorenzo’s successor. Usually, then, the captain is the oldest in the squad. 

“However, when the coach informed me, I was delighted. My teammates showed so much confidence in me. Now I have an extra responsibility.”

He touched on the changes at Napoli following the departures this summer.

“When in a squad of 23/24 people, six or seven leave it’s a good percentage. At the beginning there was some suffering, but thanks to the new people and the young people who came back a positivity began to appear right away. 

“A new Napoli is being born. It is true that we lost some strong players but just as many good ones have arrived.”

The 29-year-old Italian revealed his impressions of the new Napoli signings.

“Very good. Beyond the pitch aspect just as guys they are all good. They have integrated themselves immediately. 

“We will have to bring the good atmosphere we have in the dressing room to the pitch.”

He spoke highly about talented defender Kim Min-Jae.

“Very good. The dance video has gone viral. Besides being a strong player, he is a decent guy. Maybe he came in headlights off but he can turn them on on the pitch. 

“Let’s also not forget Ostigard as a reinforcement. And on the left side Olivera was also picked up.”

Di Lorenzo discussed the strengths of the Napoli defence following the departure of Koulibaly.

“Kalidou we all know how important and dominant he has been in our defence. He’s a number one. But there are replacements who will be able to live up to that. 

“I remember last year when we had the African Cup of Nations, Rrahmani and Juan Jesus played together very often and they didn’t do badly. He is the captain and irreplaceable but I think we can do well with the newcomers.”

He then touched on the quality of the Partenopei attack after the departures of Mertens and Insigne.

“We have lost some very good players who have made the history of Napoli. But there are many up front who can be very good substitutes. Kvara immediately entered Spalletti’s mechanisms. 

“He skips past men like skittles and will surely be able to make himself appreciated by our fans. I would not forget Lozano and Politano on the right side. 

“And then there is Osimhen. An extraordinary goal scorer. According to us, we could do very well.”

Di Lorenzo underlined Luciano Spalletti’s hunger ahead of the new campaign.

“The coach is well charged. We are working really well. We had a good training camp. We are ready for the first game. He is very motivated.”

The 29-year-old commented on how much it hurts to miss out on the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

“A lot. In my opinion we will realize it when it’s being played. To watch them from home will be bad. 

“However, from defeats we start again. Just as it was done before winning the European Championship.”

Finally, Di Lorenzo looked ahead to the upcoming Serie A season and if Napoli had a shot at a top four finish.

“Personally, I don’t believe much in predications. The pitch will determine the positions. But I assure everyone that it is an extra incentive for us to disprove these famous predications. 

“I remember that last year Milan was not highly regarded and in the end the pitch decreed them champions of Italy.”

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