Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis spoke to Spanish media outlet El Pais on a various number of topics surrounding the team. Here is some of what he had to say:
On buying Napoli
At the time I knew nothing about football. I was always a basketball player. In the first two years I spent 120 million euros. In Serie B i began to make recover some of that and in Serie A I started to make a profit.
Aurelio went on to talk about his desire to buy a club in Spain and to run his clubs 100% as a business.
On image rights
I’m the only one in the world that has the full image rights of my players. When I bought Higuain there was some difficulty as Real Madrid only owned 50%.
Players don’t have a commercial or judicial education so they really don’t know what to do with them. Plus I don’t understand how sports companies can go directly to them when they have a contract with the club. Doesn’t it seem absurd? This is how you can see that clubs aren’t run like true businesses.
Napoli gave him th exposure that he didn’t have in Madrid. Sometimes the media makes heroes out of players but they are young guys and can’t always handle that pressure.
He had a clause so there was nothing I could say to anyone crazy enough to pay that fee. Some players enjoy being considered part of my family and think of me as a father. Those who don’t, it’s better to sell them every 3 years.
He had his best years here but he also made us lose Champions League qualification because he missed some crucial penalties.
I wasn’t that close to him. I didn’t eat with him. I was close with his family and must say his father is extraordinary. His brother used to always tell me ‘Higuain doesn’t like playing with Callejon, buy other players.’ I never paid attention because I love Callejon. I extended his contract for another 4 years. I’m not a man you can blackmail.
On leading a club in the shadow of Maradona
It’s an honor, like my first movie made with Alberto Sordi. Yesterday I saw all the matches Napoli played against Roma from 1979 to 1990. Napoli always lost, even with Maradona. I still remember their directors’ faces when we beat them for the first time in their stadium.
Maradona’s shadow is a privilege. However, let’s be clear, Napoli didn’t win much in its history. It’s had some great players, but above all, it had Maradona. In my 12 years as owner, Napoli is the only team to spend 7 straight years in European competitions. I have the books in order and a record-breaking team. However, since Maradona was here, it seems like I’ve done nothing ::laughs::