Former England striker and current BBC host Gary Lineker has revealed that he placed a bet on Napoli to win the Champions League several months ago. The Italian side recently secured their place in the quarter-finals of the competition with a 5-0 aggregate victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. Lineker made the bold prediction that Napoli would win the European competition this season when few others were backing them. He tweeted: “Really enjoy watching Napoli. They play such exciting football. Had a very rare bet on them to win the Champions League this season some months ago.” Prior to the start of the tournament, Napoli were 66-1 to win the final in Istanbul on June 10.
Lineker is not the only pundit to have backed Napoli. Former AC Milan and Chelsea player Ruud Gullit told Gazzetta dello Sport: “They are the favourites to win the Champions League. I haven’t changed my mind. They play a style of football that we all like to see – fast, rapid and vertical. The English clubs are strong, the same for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. But this Napoli team are totally different.”
Napoli have been impressive on their route to the last eight, having hammered Liverpool 4-1 and demolished Ajax 6-1 in the group stage. They have also beaten Rangers 3-0 on two occasions. Domestically, they are 18 points clear at the top of the Serie A table and look set to win the Scudetto this season. Star players Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia lead the attack and both have been linked with moves to the Premier League.
Napoli’s success this season can be attributed to their exciting brand of football, which has won them many admirers. They play with pace and flair, utilising a vertical style of play that has caught many teams off guard. Their attacking prowess is matched by a solid defence, which has conceded just 24 goals in 28 league games this season.
The team’s manager, Luciano Spalletti, has been instrumental in their success this season. He has instilled a winning mentality in his players and has created a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Spalletti has also been able to get the best out of his star players, such as Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia, who have been in scintillating form this season.
Napoli’s success in the Champions League this season will depend on their ability to maintain their current form and continue playing with the same level of intensity and flair that has brought them this far. They will also need to be tactically astute and make the right decisions at key moments in games. If they can do this, they have every chance of going all the way and winning the competition.
In conclusion, Gary Lineker’s bet on Napoli to win the Champions League may have seemed like a long shot several months ago, but it now looks like a shrewd move. The Italian side have been in sensational form this season, both domestically and in Europe, and have won many admirers with their exciting brand of football. If they can maintain their current form and continue playing with the same level of intensity and flair, they have every chance of winning the competition.