Monday's friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain in the Lete Cup won't just be Napoli's last bit of preparation for their Champions League playoff tie against Athletic Bilbao, it will also serve as an emotional reunion.
Both Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani, Naples' beloved El Pocho and El Matadaor, will be making their first returns to the Stadio San Paolo since they each left for Paris over the last two years. Cavani was interviewed by Sky Sports Italia a few days ago, and he was asked about how he felt about the homecoming:
"It’s wonderful, I can’t wait to get there and see the city where I had such wonderful moments, to be back in that stadium.
"Will I shed a tear? You never know what emotions will emerge. They can come on suddenly, when you least expect them. What I feel today is that for me it will be a great joy to be back in that city. Then we’ll see."
-Translated quote source: Football Italia
When asked about being worried about facing jeers and whistles from the crowd instead of a lovefest, Cavani was pretty straightforward:
"I’ve seen what football is like and often there’s a short memory, but I think the real fans, those who experienced those special moments along with the whole team, will welcome me. If that’s not the case, then never mind, you put up with everything in football."
Hopefully the reception that Cavani and Lavezzi receive is far outnumbered by those who wish to remember them fondly than people being jerks, but there's always a few of the latter around, and they tend to incite similar behavior. If boos and jeers are the overriding noise on Monday rather than appreciation, it will be a disappointing display from the partenopei faithful.
I, for one, will be busy trying not to lose it when we see the inevitable three-man hug between Lavezzi, Cavani, and Marek Hamsik as the trio reunite on the pitch.