Serie A leaders have embarked on an important mission this season, a personal mission for both the club and Gonzalo Higuain, who have the chance to prove their worth to the world.
It has been long 26 years since Napoli last won the Scudetto.
As the most successful football club in Southern Italy and the most supported team behind Inter, Milan and Juventus, Napoli have long been on the margins of the Italian football.
Remembered as the club where Diego Maradona played his best football and became one of the greatest of all times, Napoli have won their last Serie A title in 1989-90 season with the ‘Hand of God’ on song. Maradona was high in the scoring charts with his 16 goals in the championship, one behind Roberto Baggio of Fiorentina and three behind Marco van Basten of AC Milan.
Maradona’s Napoli won the second Serie A title in four years and this period will be remembered as one of the most successful in club’s history.
The fans have waited long enough and it appears that their time has finally come.
After several years of steady progress under Walter Mazzarri and Rafale Benitez, Napoli have appointer Maurizio Sarri who seems to have found the winning formula at Napoli.
Impressive, attack-oriented football, organized and disciplined backline and overall fantastic team-spirit as the binding component, Partenopei have hit the top of the league, unwilling to let go of their leading position.
Deservedly first at the Serie A standings, Napoli have amassed 56 points from 24 rounds, winning 17 of their league games, drawing five and losing only two.
With the entire team deserving the plaudits, one man stands out of the crowd.
It is Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine striker who is playing the best season of his career so far. Transferred from Real Madrid in 2013-14, the 28-year-old striker has been limited to only 19 appearances during his final year at Bernabeu and his move to the Southern Italy proved to be a proper hit.
Over the course of the last three seasons, Higuain has been a mainstay at Napoli, playing 32 and 37 games in the last two seasons, respectively.
Just like the rest of his team, Gonzalo Higuain has also made steady progress improving his tally every year. He scored 17 in his maiden season with Partenopei, one more the next year.
Still, it is this season that the Argentine forward has stepped under the limelight.
With 24 goals from as many league games, Higuain has so far been the top striker in Europe and he completely deserves to win the title with his team, which would be a way to finally prove his worth to the world, and to Real Madrid who have given up on him perhaps too easily.
Often regarded as robust, but technically assured, Gonzalo Higuain is the leader of Sarri’s team, whose fantastic form is inevitably drawing comparisons to club’s Argentine legend Diego Maradona.
Higuain’s impact to the club has been discussed and analysed, but the fact remains that it was the arrival of Maurizio Sarri, who had only a year of Serie A experience prior to his appointment at Napoli, that unleashed the best version of Higuain yet.
Leading the way with Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callehon as his wing-men, Higuain has become the classic number nine, an efficient and effective striker who will use every chance he gets to put his name on the scoresheet.
With their course set on winning the league, both Higuain and Napoli will have to pass the most difficult test to their title bid yet.
Partenopei travel to Turin at the weekend for the crunch clash with Juventus, for the proper title decider and the game which could potentially undo all the good work both teams have done so far. The stretch of nine wins in a row for Napoli and even 14 for Juventus will have to be snapped on Saturday and both teams will do their best not to be on a losing end.
Napoli stand at 11/4 to claim what would be a surprising triumph at Juventus Arena and to increase the gap to five points of advantage ahead of the Old Lady.
With all they have demonstrated so far, Napoli would fulfil the poetic justice in one of the most exciting Serie A campaigns in recent years.
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