Web Stories Wednesday, April 17

Napoli have appointed Francesco Calzona as caretaker manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Walter Mazzarri, the Serie A club said on Monday.

Mazzarri became the second managerial casualty at the club this season following Rudi Garcia’s sacking in November.

Napoli’s Serie A title defence has fallen apart since Luciano Spalletti left the club after last season’s Scudetto win, with the side languishing in ninth place in the standings.

“I thank Walter Mazzarri, a friend of the De Laurentiis family and Napoli, for supporting the team in a difficult moment,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said on his X account.

“He will remain in the hearts of the Neapolitans and our family. Welcome back to Francesco Calzona, who has already worked with us under both Sarri and Spalletti.”

Calzona has previously served as assistant manager at Napoli under Maurizio Sarri and Spalletti, and left the club in 2022 to take over as manager of Slovakia and helped them to qualify for Euro 2024.

The Slovak Football Association (SFZ) has given permission for Calzona’s temporary return to Napoli, and the national side have two friendly matches in March, against Austria and Norway, before the tournament in Germany which begins in June.

Since Mazzarri took over from Garcia last November, things have gone from bad to worse in his second spell at the club, having previously managed there between 2009-2013.

Garcia was sacked 12 league games into the season, having won six and with his side fourth in the standings, 10 points adrift of leaders Inter Milan. Mazzarri also lasted 12 league games but managed only four wins to leave Napoli 27 points off top spot.

Calzona’s first game comes on Wednesday when Napoli host Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

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