After Napoli’s loss to Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana, President Aurelio De Laurentiis criticized referees, calling their performance a ‘nightmare.’
Napoli expressed frustration in the first half as Hakan Calhanoglu received a yellow card only after three significant fouls, believing he should have been carded earlier.
Chaos ensued at the hour mark as Giovanni Simeone got his second yellow card for a ‘step on foot,’ reducing his team to 10 men.
Mazzarri was seen on the bench yelling ‘shame on you’ in response to the decision.
Napoli aimed for penalties in Riyadh, but Lautaro Martinez secured a close-range winner during stoppage time.
In that moment, Mazzarri angrily left for the tunnel, skipped the medal ceremony, and had President Aurelio De Laurentiis address the media.
“We are in the midst of the transfer window. We have already made three new signings, one of whom is playing, another two are coming in. Napoli are still a work in progress.” Aurelio De Laurentiis told Mediaset.
“Having said that, we do not blame those who won. Luck is a big factor in these things, but I saw a Napoli team that is growing.
“Despite being down to 10 men, despite all the absences, I saw a Napoli that caused all sorts of problems for Inter. When the ball goes into the net, you cannot recriminate for that.”
Aurelio De Laurentiis: The match was ruined by the red card
The team owner expressed anger toward everyone, including Lega Serie A and Referees’ Association chief Gianluca Rocchi, using thinly-veiled sarcasm rather than open rage.
“I am sad for Rocchi, who is having a nightmare. The fans are the fans, when I turn into a fan, I can hit very hard indeed. I don’t think that is necessary this time.
“The weakness of the referees this season is clear for all to see. In fact, I sat with Rocchi before the game and wondered what huge embarrassment he would have to deal with next.
“Just as Saudi Arabia use us to promote themselves, we should’ve used them to promote Italian football. However, it was ruined by one of the teams going down to 10 men.”
Simeone’s red card means he will miss the upcoming Serie A fixture this weekend due to suspension.
“The Lega does not work in Italy, so we also end up paying for all the cards in Serie A. So this Supercoppa that counts for very little ends up damaging the real focus of our season.”
Napoli President: I was surprised by Saudi Arabia growth
The Supercoppa Italiana had a new Final Four format. Lazio and Fiorentina were defeated 3-0 in the semis at Al-Awwal Park Stadium in Riyadh.
“The marvellous thing about this Supercoppa Final Four is that I didn’t want it four or five months ago, because there are too many games already and we should not have added fixtures outside of Italy too. I think from next season, with the increase of games that UEFA have already imposed in all competitions, there is no real reason for this trophy to exist.” Added Aurelio De Laurentiis.
“I was surprised to discover a Saudi Arabia that has shown remarkable growth and democratisation, making it the new centre of the commercial world. I saw a place that overshadows Disneyland. They have 100,000 cranes working to build a new nation that will challenge everyone.
“They are very smart to use these football tournaments as a sort of advert to attract people. It will go even more in 2030 with the World Cup. But I don’t think we will wait that long. I can see things growing so much within six months.”