As club football takes a break for the World Cup one team in the top 5 leagues has set themselves apart from the pack. After their 3-2 victory over Udinese this past weekend, Napoli head into the break eight points clear of reigning champions AC Milan.

Napoli’s secret to their success

How did they do it? By selling key players that have been at the core of the club for the better part of the last half-decade and thriving regardless.

But seriously, few could have predicted that after losing the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, Fabian Ruiz, Lorenzo Insigne and David Ospina in a single summer, that Napoli would enjoy a historic start to the season.

Napoli have won 11 on the trot and 13 of their opening 15 matches, a feat only matched by Juventus in the past. Luciano Spaletti’s side is now on course for their first Scudetto since the glory days of the late Diego Maradona in 1989/90.

Napoli’s eyes are on Europe too

But it’s not just domestic success. Napoli have been a revelation in the UEFA Champions League as well. Gli Azzurri topped their group and became the first Italian side to score 20 times in the group stage as well. They face Eintracht Frankfurt in the knockouts and feel confident about their chances of making it to the quarterfinals.

Napoli have been the home of breakout stars this season. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Kim Min-jae have rightfully received the lion’s share of the praise. But Zambo Anguissa and Stanislav Lobokta have been superb as well in midfield alongside the always-dangerous Victor Oshimen up top.

Spaletti’s team plays with an infectious intensity with Kvaratskhelia the star man. The Georgian has shot to fame this season and is a future superstar in the making. But Spaletti’s has gotten the most out of this team by rotating well and keeping many players engaged.

The post-World Cup performance will be telling but with a nice cushion, Napoli will be very disappointed if they spurn this chance at winning the Scudetto. 

Photo credit: IMAGO / Gribaudi/ImagePhoto