The rivalry between Juventus and Napoli is an inter-city rivalry that stems from the regional rivalry between Southern and Northern Italy. Juventus and Napoli are clubs that are both based in Turin and Naples, respectively, and their rivalry could be dated back to the 1980s when football greats like Michel Platini played for Juventus. At the same time, the late Diego Maradona played for Napoli. Therefore, the rivalry was one to look forward to when Napoli became title contenders in the 1980s and won their first Serie A title with Diego Maradona in the 1986-87 season, leading second-placed Juventus with 3 points. Napoli was the first and only team to win the title from the southern region of Italy.
The 1989-90 season saw Napoli win their second league title, their last league title. And this marked the decline of Napoli, who could avoid relegating to Serie B after managing to win just two games in the 1986-87 season. Things went from bad to worse as Napoli was declared bankrupt in August 2004. On the other hand, their counterpart Juventus kept adding to their trophy gallery and is Italy’s best and most successful football club.
Juventus won the most Serie A titles (36), two UEFA Champions League, 14 Copa Italia, two UEFA Super Cups, and nine Supercoppa Italiana titles, the most decorated team in Italy and one of the best teams in the football world at large.
Napoli was re-founded by Aurelio De Laurentiis and placed in Serie C1 in the 2004-05 season. They quickly rose through the ranks of the Italian league and were back in the Serie A in the 2006-07 season after winning the Serie B to secure their promotion.
Napoli’s promotion to Serie A could only intensify the rivalry as they would beat Juventus in 2012 to win the Coppa Italia. However, the result would continue Bianconeri winning the league title the same season. They went on to win the Serie A for nine consecutive seasons, with Napoli being runner-up four times.
The first match between Juventus and Napoli took place in 1926, and the game ended 3-0 in favour of Juventus, also known as the “Old Ladies” or “Bianconeri”. There have been 185 matches between the pairs (178 official games and seven unofficial matches). However, it would still be Juventus showing their superiority with 86 wins in total (83 official wins and three unofficial wins) compared to Napoli’s 41 with 58 draws between the pair. It would still be Juventus to hold the record for the biggest win thrashing Napoli 8-0 on the 6th of March 1927.
For a long time, the Old Ladies would be seen as the better football club as they have amassed 70 trophies compared to Napoli’s 11. Napoli would take a long time to catch up as the two big Italian clubs still battle on the big stage.
The two Italian teams have seen some of the best players in football history wear their shirts. The big players are the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Michel Platini, Del Piero, Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona, Gonzalo Higuain, Edison Cavani, and a lot more. However, the record sale of Gonzalo Higuain in 2016 for €90 million from Napoli to Juventus caused a massive stir among the Napoli Fans, which resulted in some of the fans burning his jersey to show their displeasure. As a result, both fans could not travel for their team’s away game until 2018.
Juventus’ record-breaking run of Serie A title ended in the 2020-21 season as Inter would be crowned champions. Though making the top 4 twice, Juventus would be looking forward to restoring their state as champions this season, but it would be challenging as other top Italian clubs are also up to the task.
Napoli’s unbeaten run this season ended after losing 1-0 to Inter. Despite losing to Inter, Napoli currently sits at the top of the table with 44 points. With the title race intensifying, Napoli will play Juventus on 13 January and 23 April for their two-leg tie in the Serie A, having ended the last game in a draw. The match should be interesting as the two seem evenly matched.
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