With Napoli just one week away from heading to the Santiago Bernabeu in Spain to face Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16, it would be understandable if there was a lot of stress and worry among the team — but right now it seems like there’s anything but stress and worry.
Indeed, confidence seems to be quite high among the Napoli camp right now, with players looking light and easy on social media, and even Aurelio De Laurentiis seems confident right now.
No team is unbeatable, it’s just the circumstances which decide the outcome. [...] For Napoli a win would be a heroic act, there are certain games which are worth more than a whole season. If we were to get through against Real Madrid it would be worth the whole year.
-Translated quote source: Football Italia
Of course, it’s one thing for a team’s owner to think they can pull off an upset of this scale, but that confidence and belief goes well beyond the Napoli dressing room. Fabio Cannavaro, often critical of the team despite his ties to the club, said that Napoli can cause problems for Real Madrid and refused to downplay their chances of getting a result at the Bernabeu, and media pundits all over Europe and even in America are looking at what the partenopei have done this season and thinking that they have a very real chance to make something happen in this tie, especially after their absolute destruction of Bologna on Saturday.
Of course, all the media attention and dressing room confidence in the world means nothing once the players step onto the pitch at the Bernabeu and the first whistle blows. Napoli will still have to be at their very best if they want to be in a position to cause an upset — but having a little bit of extra swagger to bring into such a monumental match won’t hurt one bit, especially when we know just how good this team can be when they have that kind of swagger.