Diego Maradona has thrown the gauntlet down to Lorenzo Insigne, with the Argentina legend challenging the Napoli forward to beat his club-record goals tally in order to get his hands on the number 10 shirt.
It is a jersey that Napoli retired in 2000 in honour of Maradona, who netted 115 goals for the Serie A side during a spell that encompassed his famous exploits in Argentina’s 1986 World Cup triumph.
Insigne is also a revered figure at the Stadio San Paolo and Maradona joked that the Italian would be allowed to wear the shirt number he once donned provided the 26-year-old met one condition.
“If he scores more goals than me, then he can wear it,” he explained at a media conference on the eve of receiving honourary citizenship of Naples, before tipping Maurizio Sarri’s men for a title the club have not won since Maradona helped them to the championship in 1989-1990.
“I hope this can be the right season for the Scudetto, as they have the right experience now not to drop the points where they did last time. If they hadn’t have done that, we’d have been champions already.
“I think this is the right moment for Maurizio Sarri, Pepe Reina, Insigne, Dries Mertens and all the others. They can prove that Napoli can win the Scudetto.
“Many generations have passed since my day. Now the dads have to find videos of my goals to play to their sons. Even the youngest kids know me in Naples and that makes me very proud.”
A more likely man to overhaul Maradona’s scoring record is Marek Hamsik, who is only three short of taking top spot.
Maradona added: “I hope he does. The record is there to be beaten. I hope he scores many goals and helps Napoli to win, so I can send my congratulations.”