Clash of Titans: Real Madrid vs. Napoli – Decoding Their Epic Head-to-Head Battles
Walter Mazzarri will take Rudi Garcia‘s position in the dugout for Napoli’s journey to the Spanish capital, as the former faced Real Madrid on matchday two. Garcia was fired due to his international service.
In his first game back at the club, Mazzarri beat Atalanta on the road on Saturday. A victory here will guarantee their spot in the knockout round alongside their next opponents.
Real Madrid had a successful weekend as well, going back to the top of La Liga with a 3-0 victory over Cadiz and Girona’s defeat of Athletic Bilbao.
This will only be Napoli’s third visit to the Bernabeu as they have only emerged as a big force in the Italian game during the last ten years, following years of neglect.
Real Madrid hasn’t been the best opponent for the Neapolitans, losing four of their previous five matches and yet unable to win.
Real Madrid defeated Napoli 3-2 in the rematch match on matchday two back in October. The game was close throughout the first half, but Federico Valverde’s tremendous strike that cannoned off Alex Meret’s back in the Napoli goal gave Los Blancos the victory.
When they faced off in the round of 16, the Partenopei also presented Real Madrid with their first obstacle, their route to winning the Champions League in 2016–17.
Lorenzo Insigne’s breathtakingly daring goal from almost 40 yards out gave the visitors the lead in the first leg, shocking nearly all 78,000 spectators at the Bernabeu. However, Real Madrid stormed back to win 3-1, due to goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.
The result remained the same in the second leg as Zinedine Zidane guided Real Madrid into the quarterfinals, even though Napoli lost 3-1 due to a goal by Dries Mertens in the 24th minute. The Belgian then broke through his own net.
When Diego Maradona guided Napoli to their first Scudetto in 1987, the team advanced to their first European Cup tournament.
But Real Madrid, the overwhelming favourite, stood in their way in the first round. Despite Maradona’s legendary status, Napoli was finally eliminated 3-1 on aggregate after losing 2-0 in the first leg in Spain.
Napoli’s record against Spanish teams is generally pretty bad; in their 13 previous meetings with La Liga teams, they have only won twice: once against Real Sociedad in 2020 and once against Granada in 2021. However, the Granada victory was in vain as they were eliminated from the Europa League round of 16 on aggregate that same year.
However, Real has a dominant record against Italian teams, having won 15 of their previous 16, with their lone loss coming at home against Juventus which still saw them progress to the semi-finals in 2018 on aggregate.
Previous meetings: 5
Real Madrid wins: 4
Napoli wins: 1
Oct 03, 2023: Napoli 2-3 Real Madrid (Champions League Group Stage)
Mar 07, 2017: Napoli 1-3 Real Madrid (Champions League Round of 16 second leg)
Feb 15, 2017: Real Madrid 3-1 Napoli (Champions League Round of 16 first leg)
Sep 30, 1987: Napoli 1-1 Real Madrid (European Cup First Round second leg)
Sep 16, 1987: Real Madrid 2-0 Napoli (European Cup First Round first leg).