22 May 2015
Napoli approach Saturday evening’s penultimate game of the Serie A season in fourth, looking to keep up their quest for a spot in next year’s Champions League.
But the Partenopei, who must claim maximum points from their two remaining matches to stand a chance of catching third-placed Lazio, have a daunting task in front of them as they prepare to face the newly-crowned Serie A champions.
Of their 68 previous trips to Turin, this weekend’s opponents have only ruled victorious on seven occasions, with the last of these, a 3-2 triumph, coming back in October 2009.
Juventus Stadium has also never been a happy hunting ground for Rafael Benitez’s Partenopei, who have neither scored a goal nor registered a point on the hallowed turf in their three visits since its inception.
However, with the league already sewn up for the Bianconeri, Napoli will try and catch Massimiliano Allegri’s troops cold on the day they are to receive the Scudetto title.
Juventus.com thus takes a look at midfield machine Marek Hamsik, speedy customer Jose Callejon and Argentine assassin Gonzalo Higuain.
Name: Marek Hamsik
Position: Attacking midfielder
Club captain Hamsik is the team’s most dangerous playmaker and continues to be prolific in front of goal since joining the club from Brescia back in 2007.
The Slovakia international – who began his career with Slovan Bratislava before moving to Italy at the tender age of 17 – has made 353 appearances for the Partenopei, scoring on 90 occasions.
Hamsik has recorded 10 assists this term, reaching double figures in Serie A for the second time in his career. His league-best came during the 2012/13 campaign when he racked up a grand total of 14.
The 27-year-old will be looking to end a six-game scoreless run against the Bianconeri on Saturday evening, having previously bagged five goals in nine games when facing them.
Name: Jose Callejon
Mazy winger Callejon has been a revelation since signing from Real Madrid at the start of last season.
Currently the Partenopei’s second highest domestic scorer with 11 strikes this year, the 28-year-old can play in a variety of positions behind the main striker and regularly lays assists on to his team-mates.
Callejon also made his debut for the Spanish national side back in November, coming on as a substitute in La Roja’s 3-0 Euro 2016 qualifying Group C triumph over Belarus.
One for trivia fanatics, Napoli have never lost any of the 25 matches in which the fleet-footed forward has scored his 26 Serie A goals, with their record standing at 21 victories and four draws.
Name: Gonzalo Higuain
Proven goalscorer Higuain – who netted 107 times in 190 games for Real Madrid before leaving for Napoli at the culmination of the 2012/13 campaign – is a real menace for opposition defenders.
Part of the Argentina team beaten by Germany in last year’s World Cup final, the 27-year-old was actually born in France and has been described by Partenopei fan favourite Diego Maradona as the perfect frontman.
He has already inflicted damage on the Bianconeri this season after his two goals in December’s Super Cup final salvaged his team from the jaws of defeat, before they went on to triumph 6-5 on penalties.
Despite his 16 Serie A strikes making him Napoli’s top scorer this term, Higuain has not netted on the road since January’s 1-0 triumph over Lazio.