Ever since he left Italian shores to join Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli fans have been aching for a return of Ezequiel Lavezzi. El Pocho is more beloved than almost any other recent Napoli player, and seeing him back at the San Paolo would mean more to the fans than could be said. With his time at Paris Saint-Germain winding down, there's been much talk of Lavezzi returning to Italy -- but sadly for Napoli fans, it looks like there's virtually no chance he comes home.
Lavezzi is out of contract and has nostalgia for Italy, a return to Serie A [next summer] is a possibility. The first choice would be a return to Napoli, but - in view of [Aurelio De Laurentiis'] desire - to see him in Azzurro is not a possibility.
Naples is Lavezzi’s second home, but let’s see what happens in the future. I think he’ll stay at PSG until June, and then we’ll see what to choose.
At the moment, the two or three teams in Serie A who could get him have a big rivalry with Napoli, and to see him as an opponent wouldn’t be nice for the Napoli fans.
-Source: Football Italia
Those are the words of Lavezzi's agent, Alejandro Mazzoni, who has always seemed pretty bearish on the chances of his client returning to Naples. Mazzoni claimed that De Laurentiis has "always maintained" that Lavezzi wouldn't be returning -- which isn't really true, but OK -- and that he'd rather build a more European team than one with a strong South American influence.
There may actually be something to that latter point, as the South American influence in the team has gone sharply down in the last few years. Gone are Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani, Federico Fernandez, Miguel Britos, Walter Gargano, and a handful of other lower-tier players from across the ocean who have played for Napoli in recent years, leaving just Gonzalo Higuain, Jorginho, Allan, Henrique, and a pair of young goalkeepers in Rafael Cabral and loanee Gabriel to represent those shores. Two of those players -- Higuain and Jorginho -- have stronger ties to Europe than South America, and Henrique seems certain to head back to Brazil either this January or next summer, further reducing Napoli's ties to that distant continent.
Regardless, it looks like Lavezzi is much more likely to return to Italy by signing with Juventus or Inter Milan, given recent rumors, with lighter buzz connecting him to more unlikely moves to AC Milan, Fiorentina, or -- ridiculously -- Lazio. Seeing him line up across the pitch from Napoli in Serie A action will be painful, but looks increasingly like something Napoli fans will have to deal with.