One of Diego Maradona's great triumphs – meet Napoli's UEFA Cup-winning class of 1989.
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In tribute to Diego Maradona, we revisit one of his finest hours as a member of Napoli's UEFA Cup-winning team of 1989 – the last time the southern Italian side achieved European glory.
Inspired by Maradona, the previously unheralded Partenopei enjoyed success both at home and, culminating in this scene after their 5-4 aggregate win over VfB Stuttgart in the final, abroad.
1. Raffaele Di Fusco
The eternal deputy, goalkeeper Di Fusco made just 34 Serie A outings for Napoli despite being on the books for much of the period between 1983 and 1998, barring brief stints with Catanzaro and Torino. One of those matches came as a striker: during a 1989 game against Ascoli, with several team-mates struggling, he came on 11 minutes from time for Careca up front. Now a goalkeeping coach, he invented and patented the 'trajectory deflector' – a tool for training keepers to react to late deflections.
2. Ciro Ferrara
The Naples-born defender left his home-town team in 1994 and spent the rest of his playing days with Juventus, winning the 1996 UEFA Champions League among other trophies. Capped 49 times by Italy, he retired in 2005 having become just the third player to rack up 200-plus Serie A outings for two different clubs. Initially assistant to Azzurri boss Marcello Lippi, he later coached Juventus, Italy's Under-21s and Sampdoria. Sacked in December 2012 by the Blucerchiati, he had a spell in charge of Wuhan Zall in China and is now a television pundit.
3. Diego Maradona
One of soccer's true greats, Maradona's death on 25 November 2020 at the age of 60 was mourned throughout the world. The 1986 FIFA World Cup winner said goodbye to Napoli in 1991 after seven glorious seasons in which they lifted the UEFA Cup, the Coppa Italia, two Serie A titles and an Italian Super Cup (they had not won the Scudetto before, nor have they since). The 1.65m playmaker featured in Spain for Sevilla before returning to Argentina where he ended his career with Boca Juniors in 1997. As a coach, he led Argentina at the 2010 World Cup, then managed al-Wasl and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, Mexico's Dorados and, back in his homeland, Gimnasia de La Plata.
4. Francesco Romano
This 'regista' or deep-lying playmaker moved on from Napoli immediately after this UEFA Cup triumph to join Torino. He later represented Venezia and Triestina – where he claimed a Serie C championship – before retiring in 1995 after a short interlude at Palazzolo. Never capped by Italy despite being in the Azzurri squad for EURO '88, Romano became a football agent.
5. Antonio Carannante
Like Romano, left-back Carannante quit Napoli in summer 1989, signing for Lecce. He subsequently turned out for Piacenza, Avellino and Nola before hanging up his boots in 1996. He began coaching in Napoli's youth system before working as coach and director of sport for the regional association of Campania, of which Naples is the capital. He also worked alongside ex-Napoli defender Giuseppe Bruscolotti at ASD Gladiator in Italy's fifth tier.
6. Giuliano Giuliani
The custodian parted company with Napoli after helping the Partenopei to the Scudetto in 1990 and headed to Udinese. He died from an AIDS-related illness in 1996, aged 38. Not spectacular but extremely efficient, Giuliani will always be remembered as the keeper whose work underpinned Napoli's halcyon era, his two-year stay scooping him two league titles and a UEFA Cup.
7. Fernando De Napoli
Labelled 'Rambo' for his fighting spirit, midfielder De Napoli departed his namesake club in 1992 to head to Milan as they won two Scudettos, though he made only nine Serie A outings in two terms at San Siro. Capped 54 times, he finished playing with Reggiana in 1997. De Napoli continued to serve Reggiana as a director until 2005 when they were declared insolvent. He quit the game for good and opened a wine bar near Bologna.
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