Tomorrow's hotly anticipated clash between Napoli and Fiorentina has some pretty cool advantages as we can make the most of our friendship with The Siren's Song in a series of cool linkups. First up was a Q&A between TSS' head honcho Conor Dowley and our very own Tito. But we weren't content to stop there. First of all Chloe wrote for TSS, giving an opinion on Napoli from a viola perspective which you can check out here, and now Conor has kindly reciprocated, providing us a unique insight into how Napoli fans view Fiorentina.
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Everyone has that cousin. That kid who you kind of want to be friends with because you're a lot alike and they can be kind of fun, but man -- whenever you're actually in the same room they get so annoying you want to smack them upside the head within half an hour.
That's pretty much how Napoli fans view Fiorentina. They're a likable side, but damn if they aren't really, really annoying to play against. Our two teams have had some knock-down, drag-out battles over the last few years, and this is a matchup that's starting to threaten to become a real, bonafide Italian rivalry.
The funny thing is that, in a lot of ways, Napoli and Fiorentina are very similar teams. Neither side has won a Scudetto in ages, both would really like to fix that soon, and both have been on a steadily-improving trajectory in that direction over the past decade or so.
Napoli have had the better run of things over the last five years -- a couple of Champions League appearances and a second-place finish will do that -- but the misery of the second Rafa Benitez season meant that we finished the season staring up at Fiorentina in the table, the same thing the entire league is doing to them right now.
To head back to that familial analogy, this is something you both like and hate. When someone you're close with finds success, you always want to be happy for them -- but when you feel like that should be your success, resentment and anger start to show up instead. It's inevitable and uncontrollable, and often turns out kinda ugly.
With that in mind, we're probably going to see something of an extra "edge" in this match, both from the Napoli players and the crowds packing the stands in the San Paolo. And make no mistake, the stadium will be packed -- by all accounts, Napoli have sold more tickets for this match than their match against Juventus three weeks ago. That's a huge statement to how the fans see this match and this rivalry.
So while we Napoli fans will grudgingly wish you lot the best during most matches, for this one all you're going to get is petty anger and pointed banter. Because we like you, but we hate you, and we respect you, but you annoy the shit out of us. So deal with it. And good luck the rest of the season, but not this weekend.