Aurelio De Laurentiis - never faint of heart - has taken a somewhat cryptic jab at Edinson Cavani.
The Napoli president hasn’t been one to hold back his opinions as he’s pulled the club from the depths of bankruptcy back to the top of the Italian game in a decade’s time.
One such figure that thoroughly propelled the Partenopei to the upper reaches of Serie A was Cavani - who would go on to become one of world football’s most renowned finishers after swapping Palermo for the San Paolo in July 2010.
A stunning record of 102 goals in 136 appearances across all competitions in three seasons in southern Italy saw the Uruguayan become a beloved son of a football-mad city - one that still holds an enduring reverence for the legendary Diego Maradona.
But if the people of Naples thought their modern South American idol would stay long enough to lead them to the glories his predecessor did, they were of course disappointed.
A €64.5m mega-offer from Paris St Germain for Cavani last summer was simply too much to withstand - even as the striker’s mother herself urged her son to deeply consider the personal choice to stay in a place that had launched him to stardom, walls adorned with his image in loving tribute.
Soon enough, he would be off to the French capital - supporters left to cling to memories, thoughts of what could’ve been if he’d remained.
And De Laurentiis has now said he believes his former player was slightly self-serving - on the pitch at least.
“I respect him,” the Partenopei chief told Fox Sports of Cavani. “But perhaps he’s a bit selfish.”
“He put the team in a position to work for him.”
Gonzalo Higuain has done his best to fill the gaping hole left by his predecessor and largely succeeded - already becoming a fan favourite at the San Paolo with 18 goals to his name.
And De Laurentiis was quick to laud the Argentina international’s comprehensive impact after his comments on his ex-front man.
“Higuain does more for the team and allows others to express the football which they are capable of.”
Is it a scathing remark, what the Napoli supremo said of Cavani?
Certainly not, as he’s inclined to prop up the man he brought in to take over for him. But in a speculative sense, maybe he was suggesting a bit more of matters off the pitch in relation to the Uruguayan’s departure.
We won’t read into it too heavily, though, as after all the situation was at its core a product of the contemporary financial landscape in football - and the two parties have gone their separate ways.
image: © jikatu