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Why is Luciano Spalletti leaving Napoli after winning the Serie A title?

President Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed the departure of Spalletti, who led Napoli to their first scudetto in 33 years.

President Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed the departure of Spalletti, who led Napoli to their first scudetto in 33 years.

It has been officially confirmed that Luciano Spalletti’s time at Napoli will come to end this summer. The former Inter and Roma boss had hinted on a number of occasions that he intended to leave Stadio Diego Armando Maradona despite leading the club to their first Serie A title in 33 years and president Aurelio De Laurentiis triggering a contract extension that would have kept him in Naples until 2024.

Why is ‘free man’ Spalletti leaving Napoli?

Spalletti, however, preferred to leave it up to De Laurentiis to make the split official, which was confirmed late on Sunday. Appearing on the Che Tempo Che Fa show on Rai 3 on Italian television, the Napoli president announced the title-winning coach wouldn’t continue in the dugout next season and revealed the reasons why. “Spalletti is a free man. If someone comes to you and says ‘I did my best, but the cycle is over. I want to have a sabbatical year even though I have a year left on my contract’, then I can only say thank you and let him be free to do whatever he wants. I wish him all the best.”

Napoli’s first league title since Diego Maradona

Napoli still have one league game left to play this season under Spalletti, whose achievements this season mean he will forever be considered a legend in the city. After arriving in the summer of 2021, Gli Azzurri finished in third place in his first season before cruising to the Serie A title this term, marking the first time the club had won the scudetto without Maradona. They also made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time, where they were beaten by Milan. On Sunday, Spalletti will finally get his hands on the Serie A trophy and headline the celebrations before saying goodbye.

Who will replace Spalletti as Napoli manager?

De Laurentiis has already started the process of looking for a new manager. The Napoli president has been running the rule over former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, considered the front-runner at the moment, although Fiorentina’s Vincenzo Italiano, Thiago Motta of Bologna, Atalanta’s Gian Piero Gasperini and former Napoi boss Rafael Benítez have also been linked.

De Laurentiis is thought to be looking for an internationally-renowned coach that will continue to develop the team’s current style of play, which has brought great success. Napoli have made similar moves in the past, with Benítez replacing Walter Mazzarri in 2013 and Carlo Ancelotti taking over from Mauricio Sarri, who came with within touching distance of the title in 2018.