Napoli FC has been home to some of the greatest players in the history of football. From Diego Maradona to Careca, many of the world's most iconic players have taken to the pitch and made their mark at the famous Italian club. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the greatest players to ever don the Napoli FC jersey, examining their achievements and legacies, both on and off the field. Join us as we take a closer look at some of the most iconic players to have ever represented Napoli FC.
The most iconic player to have ever graced the pitch for Napoli FC is undoubtedly Diego Maradona. The Argentinian international arrived in Naples in 1984 and immediately became a fan favorite. During his seven years with the club, he led Napoli to their first-ever Serie A title in 1986/87, their first UEFA Cup title in 1989, and two Coppa Italia titles in 1987 and 1990.
Maradona's achievements with Napoli were unparalleled, and he remains an icon of the club to this day. He was the focal point of Napoli's attack, scoring 81 goals in 188 appearances for the club, including a magnificent 30-yard free-kick against Juventus in 1989 that sealed their UEFA Cup victory. His charisma, skill, and flamboyant style made him beloved by the fans, and he went on to be named Serie A Footballer of the Year in 1987.
Maradona was also pivotal in raising awareness of social issues within the city of Naples. His charitable work earned him the nickname 'il Pibe de Oro' (the golden boy). To this day, Maradona remains a legend of Italian football and an idol of Napoli FC fans around the world.
Marek Hamsik is one of the most iconic players to have ever played for Napoli FC. The Slovakian international joined the club in 2007 and quickly became a fan favorite, spending 12 years with the team until his departure in 2019. He established himself as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, becoming the captain of Napoli and scoring a total of 121 goals during his time with the club.
Hamsik is widely recognized for his ability to make pinpoint passes and deft dribbling skills, allowing him to control the game from the midfield. His tactical intelligence and creativity were praised by coaches and fans alike, making him an integral part of Napoli’s success during his time at the club. In 2018, he achieved the milestone of becoming Napoli's all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing Diego Maradona's long-standing record of 115 goals.
In addition to his goalscoring prowess, Hamsik also won multiple trophies with Napoli, including two Coppa Italia titles (2012 and 2014) and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2014. He was also awarded the Coppa Italia MVP award in 2012. His tremendous contribution to the team saw him become a club legend, with a statue of him being erected outside of Stadio San Paolo in 2019.
Hamsik’s impact on Napoli FC will never be forgotten and he will forever remain an iconic figure of the club.
Gonzalo Higuain is one of the most iconic players to have ever worn the Napoli shirt and is undoubtedly one of their greatest players of all time. The Argentine striker signed for Napoli in 2013 for a club-record fee of €37 million, and he more than proved his worth during his five-year stint with the club. In this period, he scored 91 goals in 146 appearances and helped them to win the Coppa Italia 2014 and the Supercoppa Italiana in 2014. He was also instrumental in helping them reach the 2015 Champions League quarterfinals.
Higuain was a clinical finisher and a technical genius, possessing an uncanny ability to read the game and find space in the opponent's defense. He was strong, powerful, and had superb close control, making him a nightmare for defenders to play against. His most memorable moment in a Napoli shirt was when he scored 36 goals in 35 league games during the 2015-16 season, breaking a 66-year-old Serie A record for most goals in a single season.
Off the pitch, Higuain was beloved by the Napoli fans, who hailed him as one of their own. His passion for the club, evident in every performance, endeared him to the supporters, and even after his departure in 2016, his name still rings loud at the Stadio San Paolo.
Dries Mertens is one of the most iconic players to have ever represented Napoli FC. The Belgian forward first joined the club in 2013, after spending the previous five seasons with PSV Eindhoven. Since his arrival, he has become one of the most beloved players in Naples.
Mertens has been an integral part of the team’s success, scoring 144 goals in 302 appearances, making him Napoli’s all-time top scorer in all competitions. He was also named Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2018. He is renowned for his tenacity, skill, and passion for the game.
Mertens' most memorable moment in a Napoli shirt came during the 2017/18 season when he scored a remarkable goal from his half against rivals Lazio. This strike earned him the nickname 'Mertensomics', and it remains one of the most iconic moments in the club's history.
Mertens' legacy at Napoli will remain forever, as he played an important role in helping the team reach unprecedented heights in the Italian game. His impact on the club has been immense, and his name will never be forgotten.
One of the most iconic players to have ever pulled on a Napoli shirt is none other than legendary defender Fabio Cannavaro. The Italian center-back spent three seasons with the club, helping them to secure their first Coppa Italia title in four decades and reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.
Cannavaro joined Napoli in 1995 from Parma and went on to become an integral part of their team. He played a key role in their 1998 Coppa Italia victory, scoring a goal in the final against Inter Milan and being named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He was also part of the team that finished second in Serie A the same year, narrowly missing out on the Scudetto.
In his time at Napoli, Cannavaro won over the hearts of fans with his no-nonsense defending, leadership skills, and ability to read the game. He formed a solid partnership with fellow defender Ciro Ferrara and was eventually appointed club captain.
Cannavaro left Napoli in 2000 to join Inter Milan, but his legacy remains at the club to this day. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time and has been inducted into both the Italian Football Hall of Fame and the World Soccer Hall of Fame. He will forever be remembered as an integral part of Napoli's history, and a leader both on and off the pitch.