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Lorenzo Insigne, odi et amo

After 10 long years, the controversial relationship between the Neapolitan footballer and his club Napoli has come to an end

Lorenzo Insigne, odi et amo  After 10 long years, the controversial relationship between the Neapolitan footballer and his club Napoli has come to an end

It's official, Lorenzo Insigne will be a Toronto player from July 2022. Another era of SSC Napoli comes to an end. The Neapolitan city is now used to these goodbyes and probably this last one will be the least painful. After Lavezzi, Cavani, Higuain and suddenly Marek Hamsik, now it is Lorenzo Insigne's turn and who knows, maybe in the summer it will be the turn of others. The current Neapolitan number 24 and 10 of the national team has been with Napoli since 2004, apart from a few loan spells. His relationship with the Azzurri, however, has not always been rosy.

Insigne's Neapolitan experience can be compared to the conflictual relationship described by Catullus, not so much on his part but on the part of the fans; it is no coincidence that in a recent interview for Rivista Undici he declared: "People expect a lot from me, but many have not understood me completely". For his part, he has never been one to mince words; he almost exclusively publishes photos of the team on social media, outlining a communication focused on unity and on the group. In the post-match never a word out of place, except defending Napoli from boorish choruses as in a Sampdoria - Napoli in the 2016/17 season.

To date, in 9 seasons at Napoli, he has made 416 appearances with 114 goals and 95 assists, winning 2 Italian Cups, one of which with a double from him, and an Italian Super Cup; not forgetting the famous 91-point season and the European Championship, mentioned above. Lorenzo has accompanied a generation of young fans who have always seen him in the Azzurri jersey, going from raw talent to European champion and captain of his team. As anticipated, the road has not been easy, whistles and criticism have not been lacking, yet Lorenzo has always been there, trying to give his all for the colours of his city, which has loved him as much as it has despised him.

In spite of important numbers, in fact, the fans seem conflicted. In the social media curve, there are many pro-dieu comments, and the assists, goals, defensive returns and important plays have been of little use. Insigne has often been the scapegoat for many of the Azzurri's problems.

Every mistake made by the 24 has weighed three times as much as any made by others. The relationship between Lorenzo and Napoli is comparable to a more classic father-son relationship, where the former always asks for the best from the latter without accepting justifications, while for the others it's enough that they do well, the rest is something else. Despite everything, in this Odi et Amo, there is also a lot of love. There are, in fact, Lorenzo's tears and sweat and there is his presence in the city with jerseys or posters displayed in bars and clubs, a mural near the temple of Maradona in the Quartieri Spagnoli and, more generally, the influence he has in the everyday life of a city. As in all the most beautiful love stories, there can be no lack of negative or positive moments and its absence will be felt, especially if not well filled. 


Photos by Dan Carrano.