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Nando De Napoli, a retiree who trains young people: “My second life after losing friends, money and wife”

Nando De Napoli, a retiree who trains young people: “My second life after losing friends, money and wife”
Written by aquitodovale

NoonMay 10, 2022 – 1:46 pm

The former Napoli and Milan midfielder joined the national team with Avellino: «I was selling wine and it went badly, a relative drained my bank accounts. Come on Italy? I know De Mita better than Berlusconi “

from Monica Scozzafava

Nando De Napoli, midfielder of Naples and Milan at the turn of the eighties and nineties, eight months ago chose to return to football after thirty years. And he returned from where he started, the Avellino, his land. Because, even today, the smell of wet grass when he goes to collect mushrooms in the Irpinia mountains gives him emotions that probably not even the victories on the field have ever given him. De Napoli, aka Rambo, coaches the Avellino youth sector: “The boys, they are the ones who pushed a retiree like me to return to coaching.”


De Napoli, you are 58 years old. Isn’t it a bit early to consider yourself retired?

“Instead, I live on retirement, and I assure you that I’m fine. For two months I have also become the grandfather of a beautiful girl named Matilde. Today is May 10th and he is here with me: the best way to remember the first Scudetto won with Napoli: living this emotion with my daughter and my niece, who came down to Avellino from Reggio Emilia, is the best I can ask for in life. That tricolor with Maradona is an important piece of my heart ».

Is it the best memory?

«Among the most beautiful, the first place always remains the arrival in the national team with the Avellino shirt. I feel this land inside, it gave me birth and I lived it very intensely at the time of the earthquake of the Eighties. I remember they also called us footballers to help the military dig through the rubble. Certain scenes, the pain of people who have lost their homes and loved ones, are an indelible photograph. It was a touching experience. Perhaps it is also for this reason that after so many years I have returned here, I have resumed with football which is a world from which I had completely distanced myself after the failure of Reggiana where I was team manager. I have not entered the Reggio Emilia stadium since then ».

“It is an environment that I have never thoroughly enjoyed. I didn’t find myself there. Or rather, at a certain point, I realized that on the pitch I was Rambo, a player with a lot of personality. Outside, however, I remained a weak person, with a rather meek character. And that hurt me. I have chosen to test myself away from that world. I am a free spirit, a wolf who came down from the mountain. And unlike the famous Avellino wolves who are strong when they are in a pack, I have a tendency to close in on myself, I like to be alone, even if for this I have to be even stronger ».

“Well, not very well at first. My genuineness made me run into little positive experiences. Together with a friend I opened a winery in Vergato in the province of Reggio Emilia. Not that I had any particular aptitudes, he was the somelier. I just went to the cellar and drank. In the end I gave up, obviously we are no longer friends. Then I faced an important economic problem. I trusted a relative who was managing my investments and at some point I realized that he had made all my money disappear. In the meantime, I also separated from my wife. In short, it was complicated. But all in all I’m here and everything is fine ».

«Yes, the ones I had earned above all at Milan. They are not what a player perceives today but they were enough. My family of origin helped me, luckily I never lost my smile. I finally did Rambo off the pitch too, I fought and I’m here ».

It is rumored that he has turned to politics, he is among those who should participate in Berlusconi’s convention in Naples.

“Look, nobody called me, despite the rumors. I haven’t seen Berlusconi since the time of Milanello. Anyway, the only time I talked to him about politics was when he announced to the team that he would in fact form Forza Italia. No, I’m not a politician, it embarrasses me. I live on land, on mountains, on wet grass. Of mushrooms. I certainly had some more relationships with De Mita when I was playing in Avellino, I visited him at home several times ».

Do you have any friends from former footballers?

«We have a chat called“ those of 90 ”and there are former team-mates of the national team. A way to keep in touch and exchange views. There are almost all of them, from Vialli to Mancini to Baresi to Maldini and Tacconi. We were very worried about Stefanobut the son updated us often. She is much better nowand we are all happy, he is a warrior and will be well soon. Only Baggio and Schillaci are missing in our chat ».

Do you get along well with kids?

“At ease, it is certainly difficult to keep parental expectations at bay. I understand this but I talk to them every day and they trust me. We need clarity and sincerity ».

«As I do now yes, young people cultivate dreams and have no malice and cunning».

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May 10, 2022 | 13:46

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