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Napoli dismiss Walter Mazzarri and appoint Francesco Calzona as new boss

SoccerNews in Serie A 19 Feb 2024

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Napoli have dismissed Walter Mazzarri and made former coach Francesco Calzona their third boss of the season.

Calzona is currently Slovakia manager and will combine the role alongside taking charge of the current Serie A champions until the end of the season.

Mazzarri returned to Naples in November after Rudi Garcia was sacked after five months, but ex-Watford chief Mazzarri has now left his post after eight defeats in 17 matches.

“I thank Walter Mazzarri, a friend of the De Laurentiis family and of Napoli, for supporting the team in a complex moment,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“(He) will remain in the hearts of Neapolitans and our family.

“Welcome back to Francesco Calzona, who has already worked with us with both (Maurizio) Sarri and (Luciano) Spalletti.”

Calzona spent three years at Napoli working under Sarri before a solitary campaign as part of Spalletti’s staff for the 2021-22 season.

The 55-year-old left the Serie A outfit that summer and took over as manager of Slovakia, leading them to Euro 2024 qualification in November, which resulted in him signing new terms with the nation last week.

No details of Calzona’s contract were revealed by Napoli, but the Slovak Football Association confirmed it was a short-term deal and he will lead the Naples club for the first time against Barcelona on Wednesday.

“It was only on Sunday, February 18 that an official request came from SSC Napoli that Francesco Calzona could perform the function of head coach of the Slovak national football team at the same time as the head coach of the club,” a statement from the Slovak Football Association read.

“The Slovak Football Association is aware that this is a non-standard decision that may cause concern among the public.

“However, it also understands the exceptional relationship of F. Calzona to the club where he worked for a long time and wants to help him in the current difficult situation.

“Coach F. Calzona has repeatedly declared that the main priority of his activity remains the Slovak national football team and its preparation for the final tournament EURO 2024.”

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