Napoli and Kappa had planned to launch a new 4th kit this week, but events far beyond anyone’s expectations meant that their tribute to Diego Maradona took on a far greater significance.
Nowhere was Diego Armando Maradona’s untimely passing felt with such an outpouring of emotion than in his spiritual home of Naples, where his social significance resonated far beyond the walls of the Stadio San Paolo.
Maradona lit-up Serie A in the 1980s as his poise, balance, courage and sheer swagger on the ball made him an icon for Neapolitans.
For so long the poor relations to richer clubs from Italy’s north, the arrival of the diminutive Diego from Barcelona in 1984 gave the city’s underdogs a hero with strength and skill of an ancient warrior and in 1987, he inspired Napoli to their first Scudetto.
Before that season had finished, they would secure the domestic double by lifting the Coppa Italia, and by the time of his departure in 1991; Maradona would have helped them to a UEFA Cup title, as well as second Serie A championship .
Their remarkable change in fortunes made Diego Maradona a Robin Hood figure to the locals and served to underline his status as the best footballer of his generation.
The club retired his famous number 10 shirt in 2000, but felt that the time had come for a fresh tribute.
A statement on the club website read;
“A year ago, together with Kappa, we thought of designing a special jersey that echoes Diego Maradona, his beloved Argentina and the close-knit bond with the people of Naples.
“Our hope was that Diego would be able to see it, perhaps even wear it and share in our excitement about it.
“It was agreed that the new kit would be unveiled on matchday nine of the Serie A campaign, during the match between SSC Napoli and Roma.
“The Kombat jersey that the players will don tonight will have an even greater significance than initially intended.”
Diego Maradona, wearing Napoli’s baby blue 1980s shirt with Buitoni or Mars across the middle is one of the defining images of classic Serie A styling and the idea of adding white stripes to those famous colours is so good we wonder why it hasn’t been done before?
Paired with black shorts for an authentic Argentine look, Kappa’s homage to Maradona inspired Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens & Co to a thumping 4-0 win over Roma on Sunday night, making it the ideal candidate for our Kit of the Week.