“I’m both surprised and happy, but I believe that I deserve to be here.” Mauro Meluso was unveiled as Napoli’s sporting director at Dimaro Folgardia.
Meluso was introduced by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis:
“Meluso has got the skillset we need. I made the choice to recruit him following discussions with head of scouting Maurizio Micheli and Andrea Chiavelli. I remember meeting Mauro after his Spezia side beat us. That’s when I first started seeing him as an option. Welcome to Napoli, Mauro.”
Mauro Meluso then spoke at his unveiling:
“I’d like to thank De Laurentiis for this opportunity. He rang me on the morning of 13 July and then we had lunch that afternoon in a splendid location. We talked a lot and reached an agreement. I didn’t expect this to happen – I’m at a huge club, the Serie A holders, and it’s both an honour and a huge responsibility. That being said, football is football and I’m vastly experienced.
“I’m especially happy to be here. I don’t feel daunted – I’m fired up with the challenge. I’ll give my all for the good of Napoli. De Laurentiis is an actively-involved and decisive president, and so I expect my work to be closely alongside both him, Micheli and Chiavelli. I’ll get stuck into my job on Monday and start planning the season.
“As a director I work in both transfer dealings as well as with the squad itself. I’ll have a close bond with the team, as I’ve always done throughout my career. I was stunned when De Laurentiis called me to tell me that the job was mine, because I’ve worked so hard as a director over the years, getting great results while staying under the radar.”
Do you already have any transfer plans? Have you spoken with Rudi Garcia?
“Like I said, I’ve only just joined the club so I need to organise meetings with club staff and the coach. I joined Napoli just two days ago and we’ll start organising things in the coming hours. Obviously given that we won Serie A that means we’ve got a top team. I value all of our players but I need to look at internal dynamics. In football there are aspects which only directors and coaches truly understand.”
It seemed that you joining Napoli was written in the stars…
“While I’m starting work for Napoli aged nearly 59 I could’ve actually been a footballer here. I was recruited by the club’s youth system aged 13. I needed to move to Soccavo but my mother overruled the decision because of family reasons. Many years down the line I’m now here, albeit in a different capacity, and I’m delighted because it’s a wonderful city.”
What do you think the differences between your positive experiences at Lecce and Spezia and here at Napoli will be?
“The main difference is that Naples is a city on the crest of a wave having just won Serie A. Napoli are an internationally-renowned club and expectations are high. However like I said football is football at any level and it’s about putting into practice what you need to do on the pitch.”
Can you imagine pulling off a transfer coup like Khvicha Kvaratskhelia?
“Unearthing such a talent and integrating them into the team is any sporting director’s dream. I’m always staying up-to-date as to what’s out there and I kept on top of football even when I was away from the game. Like I said before, I’ll give my all for this club and I’ll try and make my contributions felt in what’s set to be another huge season.”