'Complete' Napoli are favourites for Champions League glory, says Gullit

By Sports Desk February 21, 2023

Napoli should be considered favourites to win the Champions League after dominating Serie A this season, according to Milan great Ruud Gullit.

Luciano Spalletti's dynamic Napoli side have been one of the stories of the European season, boasting a 15-point lead at the Serie A summit after losing just once in their first 23 league games. 

The Partenopei have also excelled in the Champions League, top-scoring in the group stage with 20 goals to finish above Liverpool and tee up a last-16 tie with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Napoli's trip to Germany for the first leg of that tie, Gullit suggested Europe's elite clubs may struggle to match Spalletti's men. 

"In a television broadcast I said that they are the favourites to win the Champions League. I haven't changed my mind," the former Netherlands international said of Napoli.

"They play a style of football that we all like to see; fast, rapid and vertical. 

"The English clubs are strong, the same for Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid are capable of crazy feats, but this Napoli team are totally different." 

Napoli's last Scudetto came in the 1989-90 season, when Diego Maradona inspired them to edge a hard-fought title race against a legendary Milan side featuring Gullit.

Asked about the differences between Napoli teams past and present, Gullit said: "That team depended on Diego. This is a complete team, which expresses total football. They can win the Scudetto and go far in Europe."

Gullit's former employers Milan are also looking to mount a challenge in Europe, having beaten Tottenham 1-0 in the first leg of their own round-of-16 tie.

Having recently endured a seven-game winless run, Milan sit fourth in Serie A and trail Napoli by 18 points, but Gullit refuses to write the Rossoneri off. 

"They are fighting and suffering," he said of Stefano Pioli's men. "Up to now, everything hasn't been as easy as it was last year. 

"In this first part of the season things have been more difficult than everyone expected, but in football you never know. In the Champions League they won the first leg of the round of 16 against Tottenham. Let's see how it ends."

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