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The Grand Hotel Vesuvius in Naples is located in the heart of Via Parthenope, the oldest of the city's cores, named after the mermaid of Greek mythology. On your left, the Giant's Fountain. On your right, the Villa Comunale, one of the historic gardens of the city. In front, the immense Gulf of Naples with Vesuvius on its altar. In the rooms of this building Real Madrid is staying this week and in one of its main rooms, on the night of October 10, 2019, Aurelio de Laurentiis, president of Napoli, said goodbye to Carlo Ancelotti. Another pulse won by the maniacal "capo", as they call him for the decadent streets of the city, of the current champion of Calcio. "He is the one who governs everything."

Aurelio, son and nephew of film producers Luigi and Dino de Laurentiis, was born in Rome, although in his genealogy there is only Neapolitan blood. It is bizarre, bizarre and picturesque... And the owner of Filmauro and Cinettità Studios, and since 2004, to the misfortune and glory of the tifosi, maximum shareholder of the Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli.

The city lives football in a passionate and almost ecclesiastical way. Maradona reigns in every corner of every street and for a few months in the name of the football stadium, and although sometimes the Neapolitans themselves have doubts, "nothing is bigger than Napoli". One is the prophet, the club is religion. And for that, for that unconditional and torn love for the football team and for the sport itself, Naples hates De Laurentiis. It is explained by taxi drivers, angry with their president for not spending money not only this summer, but "throughout his time at the helm of the club", as Vincenzo says. "De Laurentiis only looks for his money, he doesn't spend it on players. That's why people hate him," he explains during a trip.

But above all, they do not forgive him that his accent sounds like the capital. "When he opens his mouth, it sounds like Roman. They don't forgive him for that," says a local journalist. But above all, what they do not forgive him is that he said that he does not like Neapolitan pizza and that he preferred Roman pizza. "It's not good. I don't like it, I prefer the Roman one," he said, provoking rejection in his city.

"The ultras, always against him"

This turbulent relationship with the Tifosi is also explained by the local media, shy in speaking with names and surnames. Enzo Credendino, from CalcioNapoli24 TV, does it: "He is the only one in charge. He has always had a lot of eye on a financial level, but time has proved him right," he explains. Last year, fate turned the Neapolitans into Scudetto champions for the first time since the time of Maradona. His third title.

A trophy that put the icing on the dream of De Laurentiis and sealed peace with the ultra sector of the old San Paolo. "The ultras have always been against him and have answered him," summarizes Credendino, but far from hiding, the owner put his face in front of the violent ones, met with them and ended up bending them with the same speech they used against him: "Naples is us." "That's why he's the capo," says a source close to the club.

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De Laurentiis bought Napoli in Serie C, in the midst of economic and social drama in the city, and has raised it to make it champion of Italy, although for the tifosi not everything has been perfect. "The Scudetto belongs to Spalletti (current Italian coach), Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen. Not his. He has kept our money," says Jacopo, a fan, at the foot of the Maradona stadium.

"This summer he has not spent much money, he has refused to sell Osimhen, he has let Spalletti go and he has chosen Rudi Garcia himself, who was in Arabia. He wants to show that the title is his," explains Credentino. Cristiano Giuntoli, De Laurentiis' right-hand man, also left in July to join Juventus, something considered high treason in southern Italy.

"You're a bunch of"

And it is that beyond football, De Laurentiis is feared in the offices. Agents, players and coaches who have worked at the same table with him attest that he is "one of the toughest businessmen in the world of football". "He's crazy," replies a footballer who had him quite close. Another manager says that at a Serie A meeting, he got up from the table and told the rest of the presidents: "You're, I'm going back to the movies." And an agent who negotiated with him admits that he ended up agreeing to his terms because he is "the heaviest man I have ever met."

Investigated for the signing of Osimhen for 70 million, a figure that at that time was out of the market, he now faces the need to sell Bari, club also under his ownership, because it has promoted to Serie B. A controversial fruit of success, like his 19 years in the champion Napoli.

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