Champions League View #1727

Choas in Napoli: Misguided Coverage Selective Outrage

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
Published in
10 min readMar 19


Absolute chaos ensued on Tuesday night in Napoli ahead of the second leg of the round of 16 between Napoli and Frankfurt. Napoli punched their ticket into the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time in club history. However, in hindsight, we aren’t discussing it. The reason being the tagline wasn’t the performance. It was the absolutely appalling behavior from “BOTH” sets of fans as parts of Naples were destroyed following riots from Frankfurt fans. However, both sets of fans should be unbelievably ashamed of themselves and should be punished and banned for at least a significant amount of time. Following the breadcrumbs of all of this, controversy leads you to believe only one part responsible. The story that has been shared has been misguided and has left out important details. The reaction of hurt and outrage behind the actions was warranted. However, only certain parts of the story and the situation were shared. We saw fans result in fingerpointing IFTV and other Italian-based platforms spoke outrage about what was happening in Naples. They shared their discussion for the hooliganism by the German fans and demanded certain consequences for them. True hypocrisy behind their selective outrage. Earlier in the evening, a bus carrying Frankfurt fans was attacked by Napoli supporters and ultras. They threw firecrackers, bottle rockets, and bottles at the bus. None of these platforms had anything to say about that. None of these platforms said anything to say when Napoli engaged with Frankfurt fans after this. What the Frankfurt fans did in the city was absolutely despicable; however, we can’t sit in this position looking at Napoli as innocent victims. In contrast, the significance of the crimes may not match up. This idea that they are victims is ridiculous. Napoli attacked a bus of fans from Frankfurt. While it may not be the same as what happened later in the evening. There is a numerous of actions that lead up to the despicable actions a few hours later. They engaged in this as they made the first move. If that bus is not attacked may not be sitting here talking about this. Both of the actions from both clubs were horrendous. However, Italian media sat up on their mighty horse, speaking about outrage about what happened in Naples but did not acknowledge or speak anything when Napoli was the one attacking Frankfurt. That doesn’t make what Frankfurt did okay, but finger-pointing at Frankfurt as if Napoli is somehow innocent in this situation. That could have spiraled into chaos. However, when the media was pushing this story, they left out important details of it. Even if the damages don’t match up in the same way, we can’t pretend as if there aren’t victims from both sides. Nobody is innocent here. The issue I have details being let out of the story and no outrage for when Napoli attacked the bus. All of this started because the city of Naples wasn’t going to allow visiting fans to purchase tickets. They claim that they cannot guarantee safety. There were some reports about the two sets of fans getting into it in Germany, but the level of tension does not equate to Frankfurt not being allowed to attend the second leg. To me, this came across as a PR move to try to strengthen their chance of finishing the job. Have they allowed fans to attend, I’m certain we would not be in the situation. This does not condone the behavior of what Frankfurt did in Napoli and does not condone the behavior of Napoli’s actions either. Both fans are victims. Both fans are guilty. Both sets of fans should be in completely embarrassed, punished, and banned for some amount of time. The behavior from both was absolutely disgusting, but there are no good guys or bad guys here. Everybody’s a loser in this situation. Nobody comes across as better than each other. The finger-pointing needs to stop. Stuff like this is bigger than football, and when we act this way, it comes back all around to this elective outrage. IFTV did not say a thing when the shoe was on the other foot. Neither did many people in the Italian media. As a neutral part of both the Italian media and the German media, I have a unique perspective here. The heinous actions of both of them are unaccepted and shouldn’t be tolerated. As I mentioned, punishment should be handed out to both clubs, not just one. I am not on either side here. However, the finger-pointing at one is more to blame than the other is counterproductive and is exactly what the situation didn’t need. The media companies had a duty to tell the full story, and the fans had a duty to reference the events that led up to this. Napoli isn’t the victims that everyone is painting them out to be. Both of these teams have things to answer for. But the selective outrage that we witnessed in this was embarrassing for football; the way this story was told to the media was completely misguided and irresponsible.

Serie A Flying in Europe: But doesn't make Serie A Top Yet

Italian football has been dragged through the mud regarding European football, the most underwhelming as they have floundered and fallen apart on the biggest stage in Europe. The reputation of Italian football and the perception are too vastly different things. The first important step was knocking Juventus off the throne. Luckily enough. Antonio Conte’s inter managed to do that. This followed by AC Milan winning the league title, and this season it will be conquered by Napoli. So in a certain sense, the reputation has been building upward in some aspects. This season in Europe has been the year of Italy. 3 quarter-final representatives in the Champions League with Napoli, Inter Milan, and AC Milan. Two quarter-finals representatives in the Europa League. With Roma and Juventus both in the last eight. Then in the UEFA conference League Fiorentina found themselves on a pathway to a European final. Only Lazio has been bounced from European football this season after getting beaten by AZ. This will only see the reputation of Italian football trend in the right direction. However, it also signifies a critical point Serie A has improved extensively over recent years. Yep, they still find quite a road to climb to put themselves in the hat with the best league in the world. By all extensions, it is a top-three league in the world. From this standpoint, the number of European teams still alive from Italy will only enhance Italian football and gain more respect. However, having a larger number from a certain league in the quarterfinals of a Champions League does not reflect the league’s quality. The three teams in the Champions League’s quarterfinals further proves that just because a particular league has multiple participants doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best league in the world. This is a lie that has been off in fabricated. The more teams from the league you have, the better. However, it either means one or two things that this league has the best top teams, or a little luck went in their direction. This isn’t to discredit Italian football because it is growing and heading in the right way, but it exemplifies that the entire argument about because of a league has a lot of European representatives makes them the best league in the world. It’s just not true. Italy is working and growing the best way it can, but it is not the best leagues. We sit here with more participants in Europe than anyone at the moment. That doesn’t make it the best. Which kind of obliterates that entire argument that it does. However, Italian football should be incredibly proud of the number of teams they have here. More likely than not, an Italian team will be in the Champions League final. AC Milan nearly got through Antonio Conte’s Tottenham. Inter Milan escaped against Porto. Napoli got through 4–0 over Frankfurt on aggregate. Inter Milan will have the pleasure of facing off against a loaded Benfica; meanwhile, both Napoli and AC Milan clash heads in the other quarterfinal as all three Italian sides are on the same side of the bracket. The biggest question in the Napoli AC Milan does champions League DNA overpower Napoli side, which looks devastating. In the Europa League, Roma got through RB Salzburg and Real Sociedad. Juventus got passed FC Nance, and Freiburg. Fiorentina gets through the Turks in the conference League. Roma will rematch against Feynoored after beating them in the conference league final last season. Juventus will take on a very ambitious Sporting side that knocked out arsenal. Fiorentina has clinched a date with Lech Poznań in Poland, a formidable matchup that should test them. We could certainly see all of them. Make a semi-final. If this were to be the case, it would greatly uplift Italian football in a big way. It has been the season in Italy in European competitions. Serie A could have three different European trophies coming home. Is Bayern Munich heavily likely to win the Champions League? Yes, however, all three Champions League, Europa League and conference League could have an Italian champion. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but this has been an extremely vital European season for the reputation of Italian football.

Dortmund Haaland was a Highlight film; City Haaland is better but Boring

Erling Haaland Went berserk against RB Leipzig in Manchester City’s 7–0 annihilation in the second leg of the round of 16. Erling Haaland continues to shatter every record humanly possible this season. He scored five goals against Leipzig. A Master class of performance. He broke five separate records on the night. I don’t have time to go through them all, but He is an absolute machine, a goal-scoring robot that has lit the world on fire again this season. Erling Haaland is having his best-ever season. He is about to shatter the Premier League goal-scoring record in a single season. He has 28 Premier League goals in 32 matches. He has 39 goals in 36 games this season. He is a goal-scoring machine and gives Manchester City a real chance to win that champions league potentially, finally. However, Manchester City did get the most difficult draw they possibly could have. As they will have to deal with Bayern Munich, the most well-put-together side and European football. They’ve conceded the least amount of goals in the Champions League as they have not conceded a thing outside of one game. With Erling Haaland, Manchester City could do the impossible; however, It was a goal-scoring clinic against Leipzig. He scored five on the night, which is still very difficult to comprehend. Not only did he score five, but all five goals were also easy. There was nothing about this that was remotely difficult whatsoever. It was incredibly impressive, but it could have had a lot of difficulties. Erling Haaland is a machine and the best striker in the world. He has ripped apart the Premier League and the Champions League. At this point, it appears there’s nothing he can’t do. However, oddly, believe it or not, Erling Haaland in one season at Manchester City he, has become incredibly boring. In contrast, the Norwegian has a lot to his game and can score goals in any place from anywhere. The institution of Manchester City has made him boring. At Dortmund, he was a human highlight film. Scissor kicks out of the air and strikes from distance, going over multiple defenders with his head and taking it in the back of the net. Dribble sequences where he beats his man and then sends a rocket into the corner. He was one of the most exciting players in world football. The Dortmund version wasn’t better, and I’m not suggesting he was. However, when the Norwegian was in Dortmund, There’s no debate that he was a substantially more entertaining player. He would be more entertaining if he was on this Dortmund side, but he would probably score fewer goals. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City feeds into his strengths in an incredible way. This isn’t a knock or a diss, by the way. It’s this the reality of playing for Manchester City. The last goal he scored that was overly impressive was against Sevilla in the Champions League group stage. That was ages ago. With Dortmund, he wouldn’t be this good. He wouldn’t score as many goals, but he would be so much more entertaining than he is right now. In the end, it probably worked out for both sides. His departure unleashed Julian Brandt in a way that made him a 100 million player overnight. A strong candidate for player of the season. Dortmund, as a collective, plays better. It is no longer about one individual as they have vastly improved compared to the last season. On the other side, Erling Haaland is scoring at a cartoonish rate. While his game itself isn’t entertaining at all, and he is scoring easy goals that don’t seem to take a lot of work from him. He’s going to have a career. He’s probably going to score 55 goals or more this season. It’s going to strengthen his position as the Ballon d;or. He could be the ingredients to Manchester City coming from behind and winning the Premier League against Arsenal and maybe has a shot at winning the champions league. He’s been the best player in the Premier League, and he’s just been at a different level, but is he an entertaining player this season? The answer is not. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the facts are the high-flying scoring machine we saw in Dortmund was a human highlight film; what we are witnessing in City is a scoring machine that just is given the ball in the right position and finds the back of the net. This probably works out for everyone, but I miss the highlights we saw at Dortmund; we simply aren’t going to see that version of him at Manchester City. He will score so many more goals and break every record imaginable if he continues to play in the Premier League. But the highlight film only comes out sometimes. He is a surgeon in front of goal, and he’s been absolutely out of this world. He is one of the best players if not the best player, this season, but is he entertaining? Not really.