“It was the hand of Dia.” The Neapolitans took last Sunday with a resigned mood the goal scored by Boulaye Dia, a Salernitana player, to tie the game against Napoli and prevent the team from the main city in southern Italy from celebrating their first League title in the last 33 years. It didn’t take long for an image of the Senegalese striker to spread like wildfire on social networks under the aforementioned phrase and against the background of the poster for ‘It was the hand of God’, the film that the Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino dedicates to the Partenopean capital, where was born and raised.
That ‘meme’ was nothing more than an innocent relief for the delay forced by Dia at the time of celebrating the Scudetto, which came true this Thursday after scoring against Udinese. In Naples, a passionate city accustomed to excesses, they have spent weeks preparing the celebrations for the third league title, a success that has not been savored since the days when Diego Armando Maradona played in the city, which today gives his name to the local stadium. . Through the streets of the center, the flags and blue bands, the color of the team shirt, are omnipresent, and life-size silhouettes have been placed with the images of some of the stars, such as the Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen and the Georgian Khvicha Kvaratskhelia , in addition to the coach Spalletti, so that the fans can be photographed hugging them.
“There is a magnificent atmosphere. The Neapolitans have been waiting for decades to experience such a moment. There is a contained joy that will overflow as soon as the title is confirmed », commented Valeria, a primary school teacher who accompanied her students on an excursion through the center of Naples. The city overcame its serious problems in the management of garbage years ago and has become a coveted destination for Italian and international tourism.
For the local authorities, what happened last Sunday was useful training when it came to dealing with the citizen madness that broke out last night in the streets when it was certified that the Serie A champion this season is the Neapolitan team. “It was an extremely positive experiment,” acknowledged Claudio Palomba, prefect (government delegate) of Naples. “There was a good citizen response and the circulation ban was complied with. We are happy”.
This Thursday, the security device was similar to that of Sunday. The fans followed the Udinese-Naples game from the Maradona stadium through ten giant screens and a million followers took to the streets to participate in the festivities in the city, whose historic center was shielded from the circulation of private vehicles.
At the Scudetto party, which will last until Sunday with the match at the Maradona against Fiorentina, Sorrentino will be very present. “We were both ready on Sunday to go down on the field in the match against Salernitana, and we will also be there next Sunday,” announced the president of Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentiis. The director himself, a fierce ‘tifoso’ of the Neapolitan team, acknowledged that the celebration of these days will form part of one of his upcoming films.
“There will surely be a job on this Scudetto,” he said into the Dazn microphones, before assuring that, unlike what happened 33 years ago, in this case the hand of ‘God’ Maradona is not only present, whose era reflects in his last movie. «Here is the hand of many, from De Laurentiis to Spalletti, going through the entire team and the fans. This Naples is different from Maradona’s, but it looks like a Naples made by Neapolitans. Kvaratskhelia looks like a Neapolitan engineering student, like Osimhen,” said Sorrentino, who confessed that he was living the most exciting days of his life.
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