Simeone talks desire to join Napoli and Maradona legacy

Giovanni Simeone highlighted how he pushed to join Napoli despite a stall in talks and the impact of Diego Maradona to the city and club.

The 27-year-old Argentinian forward joined the Partenopei from Hellas Verona on a loan deal with a conditional obligation to buy clause attached in the summer, and things have started well in the Campania capital. Simeone has scored twice in three Champions League games under Luciano Spalletti and is settling well in the Napoli squad.

Speaking to La Nacion, Simeone first discussed the importance of Maradona to both the club and city of Napoli.

“It’s wonderful. 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 yesterday and maybe it was the 90s. Diego is no longer here but it is as if he were there. 

“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. Diego has given them light, 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.”

The Argentinian forward then commented on his desire to join Napoli in the summer and how the club felt like the right choice.

“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.”

Finally, Simeone spoke about how it felt to score his first goal in 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.”

The 27-year-old Simeone has made eight appearances across all competitions so far this season, scoring three goals in that time.

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