Leicester City open group play in the 2021-22 Europa League against a famed Italian squad known for having arguably the greatest soccer player of all-time lead the club to multiple trophies in the 1980s. Let Groundhopper Soccer Guides introduce you to Napoli of Italy’s Serie A.
UPDATED September 17: After Napoli opened group stage action with a 2-2 tie against Leicester City.
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Introduction to Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli
The club was formed in 1926, and rose to world-wide fame when Diego Maradona joined in the 1980s. With Maradona (1984-91), Napoli won their only Serie A titles (in 1987 and 1990). His #10 was retired in 2000.
After Maradona left, the club struggled financially and endured several relegations. The club was re-founded in 2004 and has been in Serie A since the 2007-08 season. They have also won three recent Coppa Italia titles (2012, 2014 and 2020).
After qualifying for four straight Champions Leagues (2017-20) due to top-three finishes in Serie A, Napoli were fifth last season and will be in their second straight Europa League. Last year, Napoli won their group, but fell to Granada of Spain in the first round of the knockout stage.
Napoli have one Europa League championship, which they won in 1988-89 when it was called the UEFA Cup.
Napoli’s Stadium, Stadio San Paolo
The Stadio San Paolo is the third largest stadium in Italy, but it is the largest used by only one team, with a seating capacity of 54,726. It was built in 1959, but underwent renovations ahead of the 1990 World Cup where it hosted five matches, including the semifinal between Italy and Argentina (Maradona scored the winning penalty kick after the game ended 1-1 in extra time).
Following Maradona’s death in 2020, the stadium was renamed Stadio Diego Armando Maradona by the Naples City Council.
The City of Naples, Italy
The third-largest city in Italy behind Rome and Milan, Naples sits in the southwest corner of the country on the Mediterranean Sea. It now has over three million residents. Naples was settled in the 9th century BC before being refounded as Neapolis in the 6th century BC.
The city was heavily bombed by Allied forces during World War II, and received extensive reconstruction post-1945. The Port of Naples is now one of the most important in all of Europe.
2021-2022 Europa League Schedule
Group A – Napoli, Leicester City, Spartak Moskva (Russia), Legia (Poland)
Here at the matchups between Napoli and Leicester City:
- September 16 – at Leicester City – Tied 2-2
- December 9 – at Napoli
How to Watch the UEFA Europa League in the U.S.