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Buitoni disappears, from Napoli to the pasta derby

One of the most iconic sponsors of 1990s football

Buitoni disappears, from Napoli to the pasta derby  One of the most iconic sponsors of 1990s football

In the last few days there has been much talk about Buitoni and the disappearance of the pasta brand. At the beginning of 2022, the concession that Nestlé had made of the brand to Newlat expired, but Newlat only owned the factory in Sansepolcro. The historic factory will therefore no longer produce dry pasta, egg pasta and baked goods under the Buitoni brand, but only and exclusively under other brands. It will remain, however, on frozen pizzas, fresh and filled pastas, sauces and fresh bases that are made in other factories. Thus, one of the labels that has made the history of Italian football, having linked its name to the title-winning Napoli team of Diego Armando Maradona, partially disappears. 

And it is from the city of Arezzo that one of the most curious anecdotes between the former Pibe de Oro and the land of the Buitoni pasta factory comes. In 2007, in fact, the Argentine star met the Sbandieratori di Sansepolcro, a historic Tuscan artistic group, in Argentina. The 'band' was in Buenos Aires for a tour and in the South American capital had been invited to a football club party. And it was on that occasion that the Sbandieratori met Maradona, who told them that he was familiar with their art, having, when he was in Italy, attended the performances of some historical groups. 

Buitoni-Napoli, historical combination

Buitoni became the official sponsor of Napoli in 1985, taking over from Cirio, an Italian consortium specialising in canned foods, and remaining a strong presence on the Azzurri's shirts until 1988. But it was during these three years that the pasta brand and the Neapolitan team made history, led by the magnificence of Diego Armando Maradona. In the 1986-87 season, Napoli managed to win its first Scudetto, winning a duel with Juventus throughout the championship. In that year, the Azzurri also won the Coppa Italia, achieving a legendary double. And the shirt of the following season, signed "NR" and with the sponsor of the pasta factory on the chest, is one of the most sought after by collectors because of the presence of both the shield and the national cup patch. This collared jersey was also ranked eighth by ESPN in the top 10 most beautiful Serie A jerseys of the last 35 years. In 1988, Buitoni was replaced by Mars as the sponsor of the Neapolitan team's jerseys. 

During the three years of collaboration between Napoli and the Tuscan pasta company, there were several marketing operations that brought people closer to the Neapolitan club. The number 10 shirt of Maradona was in fact one of the prizes that could be obtained by collecting points of Buitoni products, as well as the ball signed by Careca and various other gadgets blue theme. 

Buitoni-Barilla, the pasta derby 

And the 1980s were also the years of the 'pasta derby', with Buitoni sponsoring Napoli and Barilla sponsoring Roma. On one side were the Giallorossi of Bruno Conti, Ancelotti, Boniek and Pruzzo, and on the other the Azzurri of Maradona, Giordano, Bagni and Careca. Stars who have made the history of Italian football and beyond competed against each other wearing two iconic Italian brands. And if Buitoni appeared on the shirts of Naples for only three years, Barilla dressed Roma for much longer: from 1981 to 1994, when the capital's team also won a Scudetto and three Italian Cups. 

Like the Tuscan pasta company with the Neapolitan club, the Parma-based company also used the collaboration with the Giallorossi to its advantage, increasing its popularity thanks to the capital club. There were many advertising campaigns in which Barilla used the faces of the Roma champions, and among the most peculiar ones, we cannot forget the one of 1983 with Paulo Roberto Falcao as the protagonist, eating a forkful of macaroni and the quote: "Obrigado Barilla". I've never eaten so well as in Italy. And the best thing is the pasta'.