Once one of Napoli's most promising defenders before injuries had their way, Camilo Zuniga looks set to leave the club after hardly playing for over a year. According to reports, he's set to join Bologna on loan for the rest of the season, and it's likely that he'll never pull on a Napoli shirt again. UPDATE: The move is now official. It is a loan for the rest of this season with no purchase option.
Zuniga has suffered from repeated knee injuries throughout his Napoli career, but the last two seasons he suffered a knee injury each fall that cost him most of the rest of the season. Bologna were one of several teams who stepped up to show interest in the Colombian international, and the only one in Italy since his deal to move to Sampdoria fell apart last summer. He'd had interest abroad from several English teams and even a couple German sides, but in the end it's Bologna Zuniga will be joining. It's reported that Bologna will not be paying a loan fee, but will pay the majority of Zuniga's fairly significant wages for the rest of the season, giving Napoli a little bit of salary flexibility to play with this month.
The rossoblu offer Zuniga a chance to play again, something he's hardly done in over a year. After falling injured for the second straight October, he played all of nine minutes in one match last Spring -- that was the last time he played club minutes since then. The season before was the same story -- October knee injury, then just two appearances totaling 49 minutes between them in the spring.
The oddity emerges with Zuniga in international competition, and that helps shed light to a claim of his -- that he was rarely actually hurt, and was ready to return to the pitch long before he did either year. Zuniga was a regular for Colombia each of the last two summers, playing in both the World Cup and Copa America, starting and going the full 90 in seven of the nine matches that Colombia played in the two high-profile competitions. He looked healthy, if rusty, in those summer matches, but neither he nor Napoli ever made any real effort to prove their sides of the story and everyone just kind of forgot about it.
Regardless, it's been a really bad couple of years for Zuniga, made worse when Maurizio Sarri made it clear that the defender was nowhere near his plans for the team this season. Zuniga hasn't even so much as made the bench once this season and when he's trained at all, it's been separately from the rest of the team. At least now he has a chance to hit the reset switch and get some actual playing time again.
Best of luck to you, Camilo. Hope your knee doesn't implode again.