‘Full’ Napoli are favorites to win Champions League, Gullit says

    Napoli should be considered favorites to win the Champions League after dominating Serie A this season, according to AC Milan great Ruud Gullit.

    Luciano Spalletti’s dynamic Napoli became one of the main stories of the European season: at the Serie A summit, he was in the lead by 15 points, losing just once in the first 23 league matches.

    The Parthenopei also excelled in the Champions League, scoring 20 goals in the group stage, overtaking Liverpool and playing in the round of 16 with Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Napoli’s trip to Germany for the first leg of that match, Gullit suggested that Europe’s elite clubs might find it hard to compete against Spalletti’s side.

    “I said on TV that they are favorites to win the Champions League. I didn’t change my mind,” the former Dutch international said of Napoli.

    “They play football, which we all like; fast, swift and vertical.

    “English clubs are strong, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are capable of crazy feats, but this Napoli is different.”

    Napoli’s last Scudetto came in 1989/90, when Diego Maradona inspired them to win a close-fought title against Gullit’s legendary AC Milan.

    Asked about the differences between past and present Napoli teams, Gullit said: “This team depended on Diego. This is a full-fledged team that expresses total football. They can win the Scudetto and go far in Europe.”

    Gullit’s former employer Milan are also looking to challenge in Europe by beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the first leg of the round of 16.

    Having recently lost a seven-game unbeaten run, Milan are fourth in Serie A and 18 points behind Napoli, but Gullit refuses to write off the Rossoneri.

    “They fight and suffer,” he said of Stefano Pioli’s people. “So far, things have not been as easy as last year.

    “In this first part of the season, everything turned out to be more difficult than everyone expected, but in football you never know for sure. In the Champions League, they won the first match of the 1/8 finals against Tottenham Hotspur. Let’s see how it ends.”

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