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Why does Ciro Mertens exult in a strange way?

The truth behind the Belgian striker's celebrations

Why does Ciro Mertens exult in a strange way? The truth behind the Belgian striker's celebrations

Dries Mertens at 21:31 became the best scorer in the history of SSC Napoli, ex equo with Marek Hamšík. A goal, the one made in the 30th minute of the first leg of the first knockout match against Barcelona, which served him to reach 121 goals scored with the Neapolitan club jersey. The Belgian striker took 2310 days to reach the top of the Napoli scorers' classification. Dries "Ciro" Mertens has conquered everyone since that 30 October 2013, since he scored his first goal with the blue shirt at the Artemio Franchi in Florence.

Reached Hamšík and passed Diego Armando Maradona, Mertens not only leaves his mark when he "inflates the net" but above all when he exults after doing so. It is not the first time that the Belgian leprechaun has been talked about by the strange and singular exultations. Already on the occasion of the goal against Rome on March 4, 2017, Mertens had scored by imitating his dog while urinating.

History repeats itself on 23 October 2019, immediately having scored one of the two goals that allowed Napoli to win and Dries to overcome El Pibe de Oro. The Azzurri are away from Salzburg and at 17 minutes Mertens scores the lead. The exultation, once again, is particular: ballet, tongue and a movement of the hands indicating something vaguely sexual. The social uproar erupts and Mertens is accused of vulgarity.

Last episode of the saga, just on the occasion of his 121st goal with the Napoli shirt. This time nothing new compared to the gestures shown on the grass of the Red Bull Arena. Same movement of the hands and same tongue, this time also with the involving participation of Lorenzo Insigne. The official reason came only after a few hours, after the rumors leaked on the occasion of the Salzburg episode.


Dries Mertens defines himself in all respects a Neapolitan, a street urchin, even if he was born in Flanders. In these 7 long years of Naples, he has shown love for the shirt and especially for the fans. One of Dries's best friends is not a teammate, but a person who shares the daily life of Castel Volturno with him: Tommaso Starace, the historic warehousekeeper of Naples. Tommaso, however, is not only the handyman of the Neapolitans, he is also the person who owns the copyrights of TommyStar55 dance, one of those things that drive Mertens crazy.

Already in Dimaro, home of the Naples summer retreat for years now, Starace had given his best on stage. Digging even deeper, the TommyStar55 dance is comparable to a Neapolitan reinterpretation of one of the very first parts of Paolo Sorrentino's "La Grande Bellezza". The scene portrays Lello Cava - aka Carlo Buccirosso - while explaining to the cubist, in a persuasive voice, his desire to own it.

After all, Mertens, who has been accused of being vulgar and out of place, is nothing but a great lover of auteur cinema. And maybe Paolo Sorrentino, at the next Oscar ceremony, will feel obliged to thank Dries "Ciro" Mertens too, considering that scored more goals than Diego Armando Maradona.