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Press lament Napoli exit: A new low for Italian football

Italy's sports newspapers have responded to Napoli's Champions League defeat to Athletic Bilbao with a series of dejected headlines.

Napoli were beaten 3-1 by Athletic Bilbao despite taking the lead at San Mamés, leaving the Italian press reflecting on the current state of Italian football.

Last season saw Italy's European representatives fail to deliver with Juventus and Napoli exiting the Champions League at the group stage and AC Milan being thrashed by Atletico Madrid in the last 16.

And the 2014-15 Champions League has already claimed its first Italian casualty in the shape of Rafa Benitez's Napoli side, who had expected much more.

After a 1-1 draw with La Liga side Athletic Bilbao at home, Napoli had a tough test in Bilbao, but things looked bright when Marek Hamsik fired the Italians in front after 47 minutes from the edge of the box.

However, Napoli were undone by a brace from Aduriz and Ibai Gómez added a third to secure a 4-2 aggregate win for the Spaniards.

La Gazzetta dello Sport labelled the game 'a disaster' and insisted that the result 'underlines just how far Italian football has fallen.'

Il Mattino said the result was 'shameful' and blamed the defence, which it claimed was 'a hole', while the Corriere della Sera maintained that Italian football 'just gets worse every year.'

Juventus will carry the main burden of Italian expectations this time around, but ex-coach Antonio Conte quit because he felt he wasn't being given the resources to build a team to compete for European silverware, so few in Italy expect the Old Lady to conquer club football's biggest prize.

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