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SATO Know the Pitch: San Paolo

Stadio San Paolo is home to Napoli and it is considered one of the most significant stadiums in the last twenty five years and it also hosted one of the greatest Serie A players of all time.  Home to two 1980’s Serie A titles the grounds has been around since 1959 making this year the fiftieth anniversary of the stadium. 

Stadio San Paolo is also among the largest Italian stadiums in total capacity.  Seating just over 60,000 people, San Paolo is the third biggest stadium in Serie A and over the years has even reduced their seats.  It was one of the key venues selected for the 1990 World Cup and like most great Italian stadiums was remodeled in 1989 making it more comfortable for viewing matches.  The stadium reduced around 18,000 seats in total capacity, but despite the significant vacancy of seats it is still considered to be one of the grandest stadiums in the world.

The star player who is worshiped in Stadio San Paolo is who other then Diego Maradona.  Maradona played for Napoli in the 1980’s and earned two Serie A titles for the club.  Still today the two championships remain Napoli’s only ones, but Maradona is considered a god to the people that inhabit Stadio San Paolo.  

Officials have tried to rename the stadium in honor of the Argentine striker, but the city has a rule that no buildings can be named after living legends only dead ones.   Also the figure must be deceased for ten years prior to the honor, so that name change will hopefully not happen for a long time.  One time Maradona battled Italy in the World Cup in his home stadium.  The crowd supported Italy (of course), but Maradona put away the game winning penalty to seal his national club’s victory.