With another weekend of a full slate of matches all over the world, there are some big Rivalry matches a lot of people are looking forward to like: El Classico, El Classico Joven, Le Classique. But there’s one rivalry that doesn’t get much attention which is the topic of this article, and that is the Derby de Sud (or Derby Del Sole) between SSC Napoli and AS Roma.
The Derby is one of the more underappreciated Rivalries in Serie A. Lot of Calcio fans forget about this rivalry until both squads square off. The two squads have been pretty successful in its history, the most successful clubs that are not from northern Italy, where we all know the good clubs reside (Juventus, Inter, Milan, etc.) At one point they even got along as fan bases, these days not so much. For both teams, it’s bragging rights for Central and southern Italy and their city gets the sun to shine the brightest over it.
The Derby started gaining heat in the 80’s, where both squads saw golden era’s. The beginning of the 80’s belonged to Roma. In the 82-83 season, Roma finally won a Scudetto, with players like Bruno Conti, Agostino Di Bartolomei, Roberto Pruzzo and Falcão. Roma started to cool off once the great Diego Maradona Made a move to Napoli in 1984. In 1987-88 season Napoli finally won their first Scudetto ever, then adding another in 1989-90 season.
But it all started when in 1985 Napoli made a move to help improve the squad, by signing Bruno Giordano, formerly of Roma’s first hate SS Lazio. Giordano was an iconic player for Lazio and gave fits to Roma. In 1986 the Romanista’s let Napoli know they weren’t happy with him on the squad when Napoli traveled to the Capital to face off with Roma. The Ultras of Roma began chanting songs that attacked Giordano, which the Partenopei’s didn’t take too kindly. Napoli fired back with their own chants, attacking Roma Legend Bruno Conti. The game ended in 1-0 win for Napoli with the goal by Diego Maradona, But Giordano was able to have the last laugh as he was the one who assisted that goal.
Since that incident, violence has unfortunately been one thing that hasn’t lacked. One incident both sides will never forget had nothing to do with an on-pitch incident, or even both squads playing each other in general. On May 3rd, 2014 Napoli faced Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia final, which was played in the city of Rome. Hours before the match, three Napoli fans were shot by a Roma Ultra Daniele De Santis, delaying the match. One of the fans, in particular, Ciro Esposito, didn’t make it. After a two month coma, he would be pronounced dead. The incident created a shock wave nationwide, making winning the final more important. Napoli would win 3-1, but this incident would change the rivalry forever.
Even the presidents of both clubs have publicly had disputes, most notably this past summer where Napoli president Auriello De Laurentiis had one of his popular antics, calling out Roma President for working with Liverpool, simply because he felt Roma sold former Goalkeeper Alisson Becker to them for way too low of a price tag. All part of ADL’s brilliance.
Sunday the rivalry kicks back off in the Stadio San Paolo, where Roma have kept Napoli winless at the San Paolo. Sunday’s game also has some new stars for this generation of the rivalry from Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, and Marek Hamsik for Napoli, While Roma has Edin Dzeko, Javier Pastore, Stephen El Shaarawy, and Daniele De Rossi. Napoli is coming in as heavy favorites haven’t lost a game since the disaster in Turin against Juventus on September 29th, while Roma is on a little Rollercoaster ride, coming off a 2-0 loss to Empoli.
One thing for sure there will be no lack of hate on Sunday. Two things we all can hope for is a good match and safety for all fans.
FORZA NAPOLI SEMPRE!!!!!