Newly Appointed Napoli Boss Ready to Face Barcelona in Champions League

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The newly appointed Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso says his team will face Barcelona “without fear” after being drawn against the Spanish champions in the Champions League’s last 16.

Gattuso has just taken over from Carlo Ancelotti in the Napoli hot-seat and is already looking forward to the two games against Ernesto Valverde’s side.

The first leg is scheduled to take place in Napoli on February 25, with the return at the Camp Nou on March 18.

SSC Napoli v Parma Calcio - Serie A
Gennaro Gattuso. (Photo: Courtesy)

Barca will be favourites but have struggled against Italian teams in the knockout stages in recent seasons, going out to Juventus in 2017 and Roma in 2018.

The two teams did meet in pre-season in the United States. Barca won the first game at the Hard Rock Stadium 2-1 and then cruised to a 4-0 win in Michigan.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that both Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to go toe to toe in an attempt to sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek. The 22-year-old has been heavily linked with a move away from the Dutch club for a while now, with many believing that he would wind up leaving this past summer – but it wasn’t to be.

Ajax were able to keep hold of him but now that the Dutch giants have slipped down into the Europa League, it would appear as if van de Beek is seriously considering his options.

Out of the two aforementioned sides, the belief is that Real are in the driving seat regarding negotiations, as they’ve already spoken with the Dutchman’s agent.

VDB is set to cost between £41.5 million and £50 million depending on the final arrangement they come to, and either way, it would appear as if Ajax will do well to hold onto him.

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