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Napoli Argentine Best XI

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Diego Maradona and Daniel Bertoni

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


The city of Naples was often known as the armpit of Italy.  It was a city faced with poverty.  Raised in the slums of Buenos Aires, Diego Maradona immediately identified himself with the city upon his arrival in 1984.  “I want to become the idol of the poor children of Naples because they are like I was when I lived in Buenos Aires,” he said upon his arrival.  From 1984 to 1991, he gave Napoli to its only two Serie A titles — in 1987 and 1990 — and an UEFA Cup in 1989.  He raised the spirits of city, which often looked down upon by the richer cities of the North.  In turn, the Neapolitans loved him back.  To the people of Naples, Diego Maradona was not just a footballer who brought glories and trophies to their city's team. He was more than that.  Napoli renamed their stadium after Diego Maradona shortly after his death in late, 2020.  

Because of Maradona, the city is forever tied with Argentine football.  I do believe that it would be an honor for any Argentina to play for this club.  According to Transmarkt, 29 Argentine players have played for Napoli. This is my selection of my Best XI for Argentine players who played for Napoli.  
The Spanish Quarter in Naples
Team
GK: Mariano Andújar 
In 2009, Mariano Andújar was the first team goalkeeper in Estudiantes' Copa Libertadores winning team. Andújar did not concede a single goal in any of the eight games in La Plata and he set a new tournament record of 800 minutes without conceding a goal, beating Hugo Gatti's 767 minutes. After 2009, he joined Catania in Italy and then, Napoli.  He was capped 11 times for Argentina.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010 as a backup keeper.
Mariano Andújar 
CB/RB: Hugo Campagnaro
Hugo Campagnaro played in the Argentine second and third division with Club Deportivo Morón before he joined Piacenza in Serie A in 2002 where he spent 5 seasons.  He then spent two seasons with Sampdoria, four seasons with Napoli and two more with Inter Milan. He ended his career with Pescara.  He earned 17 caps and two of which came during the 2014 World Cup Finals.
Hugo Campagnaro 
CB: Federico Fernández
Federico Fernández began his career at Estudiantes de La Plata, where he reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana and won the Copa Libertadores, before moving to Napoli in 2011.  He spent most of his in Napoli on loan to Getafe and Swansea.  In 2018, he joined Newcastle United.  For Argentina, he payed 32 times between 2011 and 2014.  He was a member of the 2014 World Cup team.
Federico Fernández
CB: Roberto Ayala
Roberto Ayala captained Argentina for 63 times, a record.  He is also the second cap record holder for Argentina.  He played in three FIFA World Cups and made a total of 115 international appearances. He was best remembered for winning the UEFA Cup with Valencia. He also played with River Plate, Napoli, Racing Zaragoza, Milan, etc.  He inherited the nickname El Ratón from the Argentine 1974 World Cup player Rubén Ayala, although they are not related.
Roberto Ayala
LB: Mauricio Pineda 
Pineda began his career at Huracán in 1993 . He then had a brief but good stint at Boca Juniors before starting his career in Europe . He played for Udines, RCD Mallorca, Napoli and Cagliari. In 2003, the returned to Argentina. He played for Lanús and Colón, but only briefly.  Hehad 12 caps.  He scored his only goal at the 1998 World Cup against Croatia.
Mauricio Pineda 
Volante played with Club Atlético Lanús, Club Atlético General San Martín, Platense, San Lorenzo, Vélez Sársfield and Excursionistas in Argentina.  From 1941 to 1934, he played with Napoli, Livorno and Torino in Italy. In France,  he played Rennes, Olympique Lillois and CA Paris. During 1938 World Cup, held in France, he was hired by Brazil as a which he joins as a masseur so that he could escape the war in Europe.  In Brazil, he then he played over 100 games with Flamengo. The defensive midfielder position in Brazil is named "volante" after him.
Carlos Volante
RW: Daniel Bertoni 
Daniel Bertoni started playing in Argentine's second division for Quilmes in 1972. After one year he was transferred to first division's team Independiente where he played alongside Ricardo Bochini and won one national and 3 Copa Libertadores. In Europe, Betoni also played for Sevilla, Fiorentina and Napoli. At the international level, he was capped 31 times.  He scored one of the goals at the Final in the 1978 World Cup Finals against Netherlands.
Daniel Bertoni 
LW: Bruno Pesaola 
Born in Argentina, Bruno Pesaola began his career in the academy of River Plate playing with Alfredo Di Stefano. In Argentina, he played for Sportivo Dock Sud.  He went to play for AS Roma in 1947.  He joined Napoli in 1952 and spent 8 seasons there, forming a partnership with Amedeo Amadei and Hasse Jeppson. He was capped once by Italy in 1957.  He was nicknamed Petisso (little man).
Bruno Pesaola
AM: Diego Maradona 
Diego Maradona was considered the second best player in history after Pele.  He won the World Cup in 1986, scoring the best goal in the history of the World Cup when he scored against England.  He also played in the WC Finals in 1982, 1990 and 1994.  For club football, he was best remembered for leading Napoli to break the dominance of the Northern Italian clubs in the Serie A.  Napoli won two league titles and a UEFA Cup.  He was also considered to be Boca Juniors' greatest player.
Diego Maradona
SS/FW:  Omar Sivori 
Omar Sivori is remembered one of the greatest ever player from Argentina. He won the Ballon d'Or in 1961. After Argentina won the Copa America in 1957, he joined Juventus where he enjoyed 8 successful years.  He was credited with the resurgence of the club.  With John Charles and Giampiero Boniperti, he formed "the Magical Trio" with the club.  In Argentina, he played for River Plate.  After Juventus, he joined Napoli. He also represented Italy 9 times in the early 1960's.
Omar Sivori
ST: Gonzalo Higuain 
Higuain first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  Higuain later played with Napoli and Juventus.  In the 2015–16 season, he scored 36 league goals, winning the Capocannoniere title and equalling Gino Rossetti's 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season. For the national team, he earned 52 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.
Gonzalo Higuain 
Honorable Mention
Guillermo Stábile,  Ramon Diaz, Jose Sosa, Jesus Datolo, Roberto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi, Facundo Hernán Quiroga, Humberto Rosa, Nicolás Navarro, Claudio Husaín, Antonio Ferrara, Nicolás Ferrara, Germán Denis, Juan Carlos Tacchi.  

Squad Explanation
-- According to Transmarkt, 29 Argentine players have played for Napoli at the time of writing, but I do not know if the number is accurate.
-- Napoli made an official an all-time Best XI of Argentine players in 2020, but I did not use it as a resource.  It would take away the fun in my research. I prefer to work on my own, but I studied it after I finished my own Best XI.  Their  team were Mariano Andujar, Hugo Campagnaro, Federico Fernandez, Roberto Ayala, Mauricio Pineda, Daniel Bertoni, Jose Sosa, Jesus Datolo, Diego Maradona, Roberto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi.  We have four different players.  Jose Sosa, Jesus Datolo, Roberto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi did not make my team.  Instead, I took Omar Sivori, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Volante and Daniel Bertoni.
-- Diego Maradona, Bruno Pesaola, Omar Sivori and Gonzalo Higuaín are on my All-Time Napoli team.
-- Goalkeeper Nicolás Navarro might have played longer here than, but Mariano Andújar led Napoli to the Europa League semi-finals.  
-- Mauricio Pineda was only on loan here, but I do not have any choice for his position. I also have no rightback so I started centerback Hugo Campagnaro who could play as a rightback.
-- Roberto Ayala's first stop in Europe was with Napoli.  He was the first Argentine player for the club in the post-Maradona era.  He later gained the captain's armband with the club and earned his first senior cap while playing for them.
-- Centerback Facundo Hernán Quiroga was only on loan here.  Instead, I took Federico Fernández.  He also had an uneventful career here.
-- Carlos Volante's career here actually did not pan out.  He only spent a single season here. Nevertheless, I need a defensive midfielder.  The other Argentinian midfielders all have question marks about them over here.  Jose Sosa and Jesús Dátolo were on Napoli's official Argentine Best XI instead of Volante. Jose Sosa only played round 24 games with Napoli. Jesús Dátolo also played a handful of games.  He was sent on loan at the end of his stay.  At least, Volante was a much more famous player. In Brazil, the defensive midfielder position is called "volante" because of him.  His playing style influenced how the game was played in Brazil.   
-- Claudio Husaín did not do much with Napoli. He was sent away on loan to River Plate in January, 2002.  He played well enough with River Plate to earn a place on the 2002 World Cup team. 
-- Daniel Bertoni played with Maradona during Maradona's first season.  In Maradona's first season, he was Maradona's only teammate good enough for the club.  In his last season, Napoli finished 3rd, which was then a good result for the club, but the club won the league the following season.  He  played well in his last season, but not well enough to earn a place with the 1986 World Cup team.  
-- Gonzalo Higuain broke the Serie A single season scoring record in the 2015-2016.  He deserved a place on the team based upon that record.  He edged out his countryman Lavezzi who was on Napoli's official Argentinian Best XI.  Higuain's omission from Napoli's official Argentine Best XI was reportedly due to his transfer to archrival Juventus.
-- Ezequiel Lavezzi was also left off because of his position.  He plays on the left where Sivori and Bruno Pesaola also played.  Maradona was also left footed.  Juan Carlos Tacchi also played on the left. 
-- Bruno Pesaola was capped by Italy, but never played for Argentina. Technically speaking, he was cap-tied to Italy.  But he was an Argentine through and through.
-- Ramon Diaz helped Argentina to win the 1979 World Under 20 Cup.  He won the tournament's golden boot, while Maradona was voted the competition's best player.  He played in the 1982 World Cup, but it was rumored that he had a feud with Maradona, which prevented him from playing for Argentina in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups. He played here before Maradona's arrival.  The club gave him up after a single season.  He scored 8 goals and the club finished in 10th.  He only made honorable mention.
-- Guillermo Stábile was one of the club's first high-profile signing, but he played poorly here.  In Naples, he played with Attila Sallustro of Paraguay.  He moved back to Genoa after a single season.  
-- Omar Sivori spent four seasons in Napoli, in which he had two good seasons.  He was a star of a team that challenged the Northern clubs for the title, which was very rare in Italy for a club in the South.  He only played 7 games in his last season, in which Napoli finished second.  Sivori clashed with many people of the club before his departure.  He received a red card on his last ever match with the club, coincidently against his former team Juventus.  He left for Argentina after getting a lengthy suspension from that card.
-- Roberto Sosa played in the lower division while with the club.  He was on Napoli's officail Argentinian Best XI. Instead, I took Higuian and Sivori for the reasons listed above.
-- José Luis Calderón alo failed here.  He only played a handful of games.
-- Evaristo Barrera played well, but too many great players ahead of him.  

Formation
This is not the most realistic formation.  I may be asking too much of Diego Maradona.  On the other hand, I give him the ability to roam free all over the field.  He needs to drop back and advance forward.   He is almost liked a box-to-box midfielder in a 4-2-2 formation. Volante protects his back while two wingers provided the widlth.








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