Inter have confirmed the signing of Piotr Zielinski on a free transfer following his departure from Napoli.

Zielinski had been widely expected to join the Nerazzurri after running down his contract with Napoli, who he helped to the Scudetto in 2022-23.

The Poland international joined the Partenopei for €16million in 2016 following spells with Udinese and Empoli, making 364 appearances for the club throughout a distinguished eight-year spell.

The 30-year-old has now penned a four-year contract with Simone Inzaghi's Serie A champions and is hoping to help them compete for more silverware next term.

He told the club's website: "I will try to give it my all to make the fans happy, they are fantastic and San Siro is one of the best grounds in Italy. 

"I will do my best to show my skills and bring other trophies to the club. I am very happy because I'm joining one of the best sides in the world. It is an honour, I can't wait to get started."

Zielinski will not be the only new face at San Siro, with former Porto striker Mehdi Taremi set to arrive as a free agent and Genoa goalkeeper Josep Martinez reportedly close to joining in a €13m deal.

Antonio Conte is relishing the "challenge" of the Napoli job and has promised the fans a "seriousness" in his approach to getting the club back among the contenders in Serie A.

The Italian, who returned to management after a 15-month absence following his departure from Tottenham, was unveiled to the fans for the first time after signing a three-year contract with the club earlier this month.

The Partenopei won the Scudetto with five games to spare in 2022-23 but could not follow that success up last season as they stumbled through their title defence.

Napoli went through three managers last season after Luciano Spalletti’s departure in June 2023, with Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri getting fired before Calzona oversaw the last few months of the campaign.

In the end, they finished 10th, outside the extended European places, with Conte confident Napoli will get back on top form.

"It'll take time and patience. I am of the 'those who have time don't wait for time'," Conte said. "We will try in every way to take this responsibility. This is the project. It gave me great enthusiasm, I felt something in my stomach.

"Definitely a challenge that comes at the right time. I think I'm a coach who has gained experience, which leads me to face this fascinating challenge with great desire. One person asked me: 'But aren't you afraid to go and coach Napoli?' Afraid of what?

"For me, it's a pleasure, knowing the difficulty of the challenge. Those who know me know that no one has ever given me anything. Ever. What I have won, I always won with sweat and sacrifice. It's what my parents taught me, and it's what I try to pass on to my daughter and my players.

"I know that this challenge comes at the right time for me as a person because I really want to enjoy this passion and enthusiasm.

"Because for me the difficult thing will be to change this enthusiasm and this passion, but I'm convinced that I can do it because I will put everything I have into it, as I have done in the past. That is clear."

Napoli fans became restless with their season as they won just 13 of their matches and finished on 53 points, 37 fewer than they won under Spalletti in his final year.

"What I can promise is seriousness, a word that is often underestimated. Seriousness in giving everything for Napoli, in transmitting my culture at work, my mentality.

"The transmission of my footballing ideas. The goal of a coach, besides excelling, is to make his fans proud.

"But in defeat, there mustn't be the extenuating circumstance of not having given our best. What I can promise is that we'll give our best, more than our best, because sometimes the best is not enough."

Napoli insist Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is not on the market after his agent Mamuka Jugeli claimed he is looking to leave the club. 

The Georgia international, who is preparing for his country's Euro 2024 opener against Turkiye on Tuesday, has been linked with a move to both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona in the current transfer window. 

Kvaratskhelia scored 11 times in the league in 2023-24, as the Partenopei finished 10th in what was a disappointing defence of their third Serie A crown. 

"We want to leave Napoli, but now we're all waiting for the Euro 2024," Jugeli told Sport Imedi last week. "With [Antonio] Conte, Napoli have big plans.

"I'm sure they will qualify for the Champions League again next season and fight for the Scudetto. But that doesn't mean Kvaratskhelia wants to stay there, I don't mean it.

"I didn't talk with Khvicha about this issue, the most important thing for him is the national team. Our goal is the team that plays in the Champions League.

"The worst thing is that if he stays here, Khvicha will lose one year because of that… we are worried."

However, Napoli have hit back with a statement of their own, citing the fact Kvaratskhelia has three years remaining on his contract at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. 

It read: "In reference to the statements of Kvaratskhelia's agent, Mamuka Jugeli, and his father Badri, Calcio Napoli reiterates that the player has a contract for another three years with the club.

"Kvaratskhelia is not on the market. It is not the agents or fathers who decide the future of a player under contract with Napoli but the club!!! End of the story."

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia vowed he would continue to make Napoli fans happy, amid speculation linking him with a move away from the Serie A side.

The Georgia winger is reportedly on the radar of reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, after two seasons at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Kvaratskhelia played a key role as Napoli won the Scudetto in 2022-23, with 12 goals and a league-high 10 assists.

He was also one of the Partenopei's standout performers during their disappointing title defence last term, in which they finished 10th, as he still managed to register 11 goals and six assists. 

The 23-year-old, who is gearing up to feature in Georgia's major tournament debut at Euro 2024, feels he has a "big responsibility" to reciprocate the support he has received - for club and country.

 

"I feel so much affection in Naples, and first of all, I would like to say that the people who are at my side and support me are helping me a lot, and it is a great responsibility," he told Georgian media in quotes reported by journalist Kakha Dgebuadze.

"This is a very big responsibility, because when a person appreciates you and loves you - whether you are on or off the field - you have to respect and justify their hopes.

"I also work hard and do everything to make my fans happy. I will do everything not only for the fans there [in Naples], but also for Georgia. I will continue to try to do more and make my fans happier."

Antonio Conte is back in management after being named the new head coach at Napoli.

The former Juventus and Italy boss replaces the outgoing Francesco Calzona, signing a three-year deal at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Conte returns to the dugout 15 months after leaving Premier League side Tottenham by mutual consent, and will hope to oversee an improvement on a disappointing 2023-24 season for Napoli.

Scudetto winners the previous year, the Partenopei were unable to launch a genuine title defence, finishing 10th in a campaign where they had three different coaches, firing Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri before Calzona came in.

Conte won three successive Serie A titles between 2012 and 2014 with Juventus, while guiding Inter to the Scudetto three years ago. The former midfielder also led Chelsea to Premier League glory in 2017.

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis said: "I am very proud that the new coach of Napoli is Antonio Conte. 

"Antonio is a top coach, a leader, with whom I am sure that the necessary refoundation will start after the conclusion of the cycle that led us to win the Scudetto last year after many seasons at the top of Italian football. 

"Today marks the beginning of a new important chapter in the history of Napoli."

Conte, meanwhile, told the club's website: "Napoli is a place of global importance. I'm happy and excited to sit on the Azzurri bench. 

"I can certainly promise one thing: I will do my best for the growth of the team and the club. My commitment, together with that of my staff, will be total."

 

Napoli missed out on their slim chance to participate in Europe next season after being held to a 0-0 home draw by Lecce in their final Serie A game of the campaign on Sunday.

After a lacklustre first half, Napoli had chances to win the game in the second, with Cyril Ngonge coming closest when he rattled the crossbar.

Patrick Dorgu had already given the Azzurri a scare just nine minutes in, firing Lecce's first shot off Alex Meret's post.

Napoli had to win to climb to ninth place, but instead, finished below Torino, who lost 3-0 to recently crowned Europa League champions Atalanta, due to their head-to-head record.

Torino could now earn a Europa Conference League play-off spot if Fiorentina beat Olympiacos in that final on Wednesday. 

Data Debrief: Napoli's season fizzles out

Napoli finished the season on 53 points - it is the second-worst return for a team that started the season as Serie A reigning champions in the three-point-per-win era after Milan in 1996-97 (43). 

After scoring in each of their 12 home matches against Lecce in Serie A prior to Sunday's match, Napoli failed to find the back of the net against them for the first time at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Dethroned Italian champions Napoli's hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M'Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece's Olympiakos on May 29.

Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

Data Debrief

Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) - now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton - as the most across Europe's top five leagues in that period.

Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

Napoli's Serie A title defence has long since ended, and they must beat Fiorentina on Friday to have any hope of playing in Europe next season.

Napoli strolled to the Scudetto last year, clinching the title with five games to spare and finishing 16 points ahead of runners-up Lazio.

This time around, it was Inter who wrapped up the league with five games remaining, while Napoli sit ninth in the standings, 41 points adrift of the leaders with a Europa Conference League spot their only hope of playing in Europe.

Napoli are without a win in their last five games, though even if they can get back to winning ways, their European hopes would be out of their own hands due to having played a game more than Fiorentina.

Fiorentina have won three of their last five league matches, and won the previous meeting between the sides 3-1, which could prove vital they end the season level on points and the head-to-head record comes into play.

Vincenzo Italiano's side have already qualified for this season's Europa Conference League final, where they face Greek side Olympiacos in Athens. 

The Viola, unbeaten in Europe this season, are aiming to end the league campaign on a high and take that momentum into the final - they are looking to go one better than last year when they lost to West Ham in the final.

Napoli are likely to be without top scorer Victor Osimhen, who is a serious doubt due to a muscular problem. Fiorentina, meanwhile, welcome back Andre Belotti who missed Monday's win over Monza.

Napoli saw their winless run extend to five games after Bologna secured a 2-0 win with two quickfire goals at their lacklustre hosts in Serie A on Saturday.

Forward Dan Ndoye gave Bologna the lead in the ninth minute, heading home from point-blank range, before defender Stefan Posch nodded in to double the advantage three minutes later following a corner.

Napoli should have pulled one back soon after when they were awarded a penalty for Remo Freuler's foul on Victor Osimhen but Bologna goalkeeper Federico Ravaglia kept out Matteo Politano's low shot.

Bologna, at least temporarily, moved up to third on 67 points, leapfrogging Juventus – with 66 – who host relegated Salernitana on Sunday.

Napoli are eighth on 51 points as last season's Scudetto winners continue to struggle to match their heroics from the previous term.

Napoli coach Francesco Calzona is determined to see the Partenopei finish the season on a high despite their European hopes being further hit by Monday's 1-1 draw with struggling Udinese. 

Victor Osimhen nodded home to give Napoli the lead in the 51st minute before Udinese forward Isaac Success bundled in the leveller in stoppage time.

The result – which came on the same ground where Napoli clinched the Scudetto last season – leaves them nine points adrift of Atalanta and Roma, who sit fifth and sixth in Serie A respectively, with just nine to play for.

"Clearly I thought we could do better, without a doubt. Unfortunately that wasn't the case," Calzona told DAZN.

"We have to ask the management about the future of Napoli, it's clear that we have the qualities to do better. 

"It was a disappointing and unfortunate year, but we absolutely must finish this championship on a high note."

Napoli had 50 points halfway through their Scudetto-winning 2022-23 campaign but have just 51 after 35 games this term, with their ambitions now limited to a Europa League spot.

Calzona says European qualification remains crucial as Napoli look ahead to 2024-25, adding: "Naples is a great place, perhaps after a year like this there will be many rumours circulating.

"But it is not a justification, I repeated that there is still a possibility of reaching Europe.

"We have improved a little, but it's not enough. We have to do more to win these games. We have also created, the team continues to have good possession, but at times it is sterile.

"But we have to be more incisive. In the second half we did it but we have to avoid the end of the game where it gets dirty".

Napoli next host fourth-placed Bologna on Saturday before they travel to Fiorentina, who are one point behind them in ninth and still have a game in hand.

Napoli were held to a 1-1 draw at relegation-battling Udinese in Serie A on Monday after a stoppage-time goal by forward Isaac Success cancelled out a Victor Osimhen header.

Osimhen nodded home to give Napoli the lead in the 51st minute after Matteo Politano sent a lofted cross from the right into the middle of the box, and the Nigerian striker headed the ball in off the left post.

The Nigerian thought he doubled their advantage in the 80th minute, but his effort was ruled out for offside, before Success bundled in the leveller in stoppage time, netting from a Thomas Kristensen header.

Napoli moved up to eighth on 51 points from 35 games and are nine points behind both fifth-placed Atalanta and Roma, in sixth.

Data Debrief:

Osimhen is the third Napoli player to score in six matches in a row against a single team in Serie A in the three-points-for-a-win era, after Gonzalo Higuain against Lazio between 2013 and 2016 and Dries Mertens against Bologna between 2016 and 2019.

Despite fighting back to earn a point, Udinese have now failed to win three games under a new manager for the first time since August-September 2010 under Francesco Guidolin.

Daniele De Rossi acknowledged his Roma team may be tired, but he insisted they must not allow themselves to be embarrassed. 

Roma fought back to draw 2-2 with last season's Serie A champions Napoli in a pulsating fixture on Sunday.

Tammy Abraham's late header secured a point for De Rossi's team, who took the lead through Paulo Dybala's penalty before going behind to goals from Matias Olivera and Victor Osimhen.

With Serie A set to have five teams in the Champions League next season, Roma occupy fifth spot with four matches remaining, but sixth-placed Atalanta are just two points behind with a game in hand.

There is also the small matter of a Europa League semi-final against Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen on the cards over the coming weeks, and De Rossi set the stall out.

"We drew, it is not a result to throw away, but it is not the result or the performance that we wanted," Roma coach Daniele De Rossi told Sky Sports Italia.

"At times you can steal the ball off Napoli, but we then gave it back again too many times. Napoli had a lot of chances in the first half, we did better in the second, but we have to do better.

"Look, we are tired, but we cannot start thinking that we’re tired and that means we can be embarrassed in the final few weeks of the season."

Roma host Leverkusen on Thursday before taking on Juventus on May 5, with a crunch clash against Atalanta – who are also into the Europa League semi-finals – set to follow after the away leg against Xabi Alonso's team.

Key to a successful end to the campaign for Roma will be keeping Dybala fit. The Argentine has been involved in the joint-most goals (12) in Serie A since the turn of the year, scoring nine and setting up three, level with Juve's Dusan Vlahovic.

A wasteful Napoli were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Roma in Serie A, with a late Tammy Abraham header securing a point for the visitors.

The visitors took the lead from the penalty spot a minute before the hour mark, with Paulo Dybala converting after Juan Jesus fouled Sardar Amzoun.

However, Napoli equalised six minutes later through Matias Olivera's deflected shot, and completed the turnaround with their own penalty six minutes from time as Victor Osimhen tucked away after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was felled by Renato Sanches.

The hosts could not hold on, though, and were pegged back with two minutes to go. Substitute Abraham's header from a corner was eventually awarded following a VAR review after he had initially been ruled offside.

Data debrief

Napoli remain eighth in the Serie A table on 50 points, the exact amount they had registered after their opening 19 games of last season.

Though his penalty was not enough to earn Roma victory, Dybala continued his impressive start to 2024, during which he has been involved in the joint-most goals in Serie A with 12 (nine goals, three assists).

Napoli have confirmed club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has spoken to prosecutors as part of an inquiry into the signing of Victor Osimhen.

Italian media has reported De Laurentiis is under investigation for alleged false accounting.

Prosecutors reportedly allege that the market value of four players Napoli sold to Lille as part of a deal to buy Nigeria striker Osimhen in September 2020 were inflated to help the Italian club balance their books.

A Napoli statement on Wednesday said: “Upon his request, Aurelio De Laurentiis was heard today at the prosecutor’s office in Rome as part of the ongoing inquiry into the purchase of Victor Osimhen.”

According to Italian media, Napoli paid Lille around £65.5milion for Osimhen, with the total value of the four outgoing players – Ciro Palmieri, Orestis Karnezis, Luigi Liguori and Claudio Manzi – given as around £17.15m.

Osimhen was instrumental in Napoli winning the Serie A title last season for the first time in 33 years, finishing as top scorer with 26 goals.

The 25-year-old signed a new contract in December, but it contains a reported £100m release clause and he has bene linked with a summer move away from the club.

Napoli have urged their fans to make themselves heard in the fight against racism during Saturday’s home game against Atalanta.

The Serie A club said earlier in the week that it was “astonishing” that Italy defender Francesco Acerbi was not sanctioned over allegations of racism against their player Juan Jesus.

Inter Milan’s Acerbi was accused of racism towards Jesus in the closing stages of a 1-1 draw earlier this month, with the Napoli defender briefly pausing the match to report the matter to the referee.

But Acerbi will face no further action after Jesus’ claims were dismissed by a Serie A sports judge due to a lack of evidence.

On Friday, Napoli wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “We believe in a world where equality and respect are not just empty illusions but concrete and universally recognised principles.

“For this to happen, we mustn’t stay silent. Tomorrow is the right chance to raise our voices and say NO to racism.”

Acerbi protested his innocence, but agreed to withdraw from the national squad for this week’s games against Venezuela and Ecuador after discussing the matter with manager Luciano Spalletti.

Serie A sports judge Gerardo Mastrandrea considered the case against Acerbi and on Tuesday concluded: “In this case the minimum level of reasonable certainty regarding the discriminatory content of the offence committed is not reached.”

Napoli issued a statement in response saying they found the verdict “astonishing”, adding: “Napoli will no longer take part in anti-racism and anti-discrimination initiatives run by football institutions that are merely symbolic.

“But we will continue to organise them ourselves, as we have always done, with renewed conviction and determination.”

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