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Napoli Braces for Second Coaching Change Amidst Serie A Challenges

Reports indicate that Napoli, the reigning Serie A champions, are poised to make their second coaching change of the 2023/2024 season.

With the Italian league title to defend, Napoli faces the prospect of another coaching transition as they gear up to clash with Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 this Wednesday. Italian media reports hint at coach Walter Mazzarri’s potential departure before the first leg, prompted by a lackluster 1-1 draw against Genoa over the weekend.

Taking the reins from Rudi Garcia in November, Mazzarri’s tenure at Napoli has failed to impress, garnering only 15 points from 12 Serie A matches—a performance inferior to his predecessor. Garcia was relieved of his duties after securing 21 points from 12 matches, placing Napoli in fourth position, trailing league leaders Inter Milan by 10 points. Presently, Napoli finds itself in ninth place, trailing Inter by 27 points and missing out on European qualifying spots.

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Once a dominant force that clinched the Serie A title in the previous season, Napoli has struggled to replicate its past success. Following Luciano Spalletti’s departure for a year-long sabbatical, subsequently becoming Italy’s national team coach after Roberto Mancini’s resignation, Garcia stepped in before Mazzarri took over. Francesco Calzona, a former assistant to Spalletti and a favored candidate for the Napoli job, left in 2022 to coach Slovakia.

According to Italian sources, Calzona, who played a crucial role in Napoli’s coaching staff during Maurizio Sarri’s tenure from 2015-18, is poised to take charge until the season’s end. Remarkably, he is expected to juggle his responsibilities as Slovakia’s coach simultaneously. At 55 years old, Calzona played a pivotal role in Slovakia’s qualification for the upcoming European Championship, marking his debut as a head coach.

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