CBS Sports’ Serie A studio team and commentators are heading to Italy this weekend to cover Sunday’s Napoli-Milan game on-site.
It’s another example of the commitment that CBS Sports is showing to coverage of Italy’s Serie A. And the timing couldn’t be better. Napoli are close to winning the scudetto, for the first time since 1990. A lot has changed since then when Diego Maradona helped Gli Azzurri win their second title.
Speaking by phone with World Soccer Talk, Serie A studio analyst Mike Grella (pictured above, far right) couldn’t be more excited. He’ll be doing the pre-match and post-match coverage alongside his colleagues and Italian soccer legend Gianfranco Zola who is joining the broadcast as a guest analyst.
“It’s a little bit surreal for me because I grew up watching Gianfranco Zola,” said Grella. “It’s something special for me personally, but also I think it’s really nice for the viewers.”
CBS Napoli-Milan adventure is a personal story for Grella
With his family connections to the Napoli region, former footballer Grella summed up what it would mean to the people of Napoli if they win the Serie A title this season. Currently 19 points ahead in first place, Napoli look unstoppable.
“I reached out to my family to tell them I was coming to Naples to cover the game, and wanted to see them, and their response was all about the team and the city of Naples,” explained Grella. “Those two things are intertwined.
“They said to me, ‘You are going to see things that you’ve never seen before in terms of the way they’re going to celebrate, and the affection they have towards the team, winning this thing, the game of football, Maradona. They are very emotional and positive people.’
“If they win [Serie A], there’s going to be chaos in terms of the celebration.”
Grella is one part of the entire Calcio E Cappuccino studio show traveling to Italy this weekend for live coverage of Napoli-Milan on Paramount+. Pre-match coverage begins at 1:30PM ET, while kickoff is scheduled for 2:45PM ET. Paramount+ also plans on 45 minutes of post-match coverage too, live from the stadium.
In total, CBS Sports are flying Andrés Cordero over to commentate the game alongside Matteo Bonetti, who will also double as a pre-match analyst. Joining Bonetti pitchside is host Poppy Miller, and analysts Marco Messina and Grella. The star of the show is the aforementioned former Napoli and Chelsea footballer Zola. Meanwhile, Christina Unkel is CBS Sports’ rules analyst. She’ll be on hand to break down any controversial refereeing decisions.
Coincidentally, Sunday’s match between Napoli and Milan is also an apéritif before the April 12th UEFA Champions League semi-final between both clubs (also on Paramount+). Grella expects there to be some mind games played on Sunday.
“I think there’s going to be tactical and selection games going on for this weekend because sides are not going to want to show their true colors for the Champions League,” explained Grella. “I think Naples has the scudetto in the bag, so they’re both very focused on what this Champions League tie is going to look like.
“They don’t want to show too many cards. I think they don’t want to have guys injured or tired, so it’ll be very interesting as far as mind games.”
For a final question, we asked Grella what his favorite thing is about Serie A, and what makes it so special.
“I would say it’s the brand of football,” Grella said. “In general, in the Italian blood, they figure out ways to win. They never had the most talented sides, but they figure out ways to win — whether it’s tactically, defensively, gritty, or being physical. They’re a very competitive group. When you’re watching Serie A, you’ll see they’ll figure out ways to get a chance in the game regardless of how talented the group are.”
Editor’s note: Don’t miss Napoli-Milan in Serie A on Sunday, April 2nd as well as in the Champions League on April 12th. Both games are on Paramount+.
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