Napoli needed to win against Genk to advance in Round of 16 and in the end, Arkadiusz Milik helped them to achieve that in style – a first-half hat-trick was enough to register a comprehensive 4-0 win and a place in next round of Champions League. Napoli’s lean-patch came to an end, but it did not save Carlo Ancelotti’s job as the manager.

Napoli gave an official statement on Twitter saying, “Napoli has decided to revoke the role of technical manager of the first team from Mr. Carlo Ancelotti. The relations of friendship, esteem and mutual respect between the company, its president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti remain intact.” Ancelotti’s reign lasted just over one-and-a-half years. Life had not been easier at Naples for him. On the field his men remained off-coloured and off it, problems crippled Napoli’s progress.

Ancelotti took over as Napoli’s manager in 2018 after Maurizio Sarri left for Stamford Bridge. Ancelotti inherited a Napoli side, which made an impact in Italian Serie A with Sarri-ball. Napoli regained their lost respect under Sarri and what Ancelotti had to do was carry on the legacy and take Napoli to the next level. But sadly, it never happened.

The 2018-19 season was not satisfactory, while in 2019-20, doubts about Ancelotti’s credibilities continued to grow. In 2018-19 Napoli became a team that lacked the cutting-edge to score goals from a free-flowing side under Sarri. They finished second in Serie A, 11 points behind the eventual champions Juventus, and with only Atalanta scoring more Serie A goals than Napoli in 2018/19. While in the Champions League, after winning two and drawing three in their opening five games, Napoli just needed to avoid a defeat against Liverpool to register a place in knockout stages along with group winners Paris Saint-Germain.

But they lost 1-0 and were out of the competition. Liverpool advanced and ultimately won the event. Napoli were condemned to third place having scored fewer goals than Liverpool with whom they were tied on points.

Napoli did make it to the quarterfinals of Europa League beating Zurich and Red Bull Salzburg but once again their inability to score goals when needed proved costly. Arsenal beat them on goal aggregates.

This season started well if not smoothly. Six wins from their next nine games across all competitions, including a 2-0 win over Champions League holders Liverpool in the group stage. But since then, Napoli went winless in nine consecutive matches – eight draws and one defeat. In the Serie A they are at seventh place – 17 points behind Inter and 7 behind Atalanta.

The losing streak had been broken last night. Sadly, Ancelotti had to go.

Ancelotti’s problems at Naples became critical when players and officials started to lose faith in him each day.

In early November there was a player-mutiny. After the draw against Red Bull Salzburg in Champions League, Napoli’s stars were meant to remain at a training retreat enforced by the owner Aurelio De Laurentiis until their game with Genoa four days later. Instead, they went to their homes, and Napoli released a statement essentially confirming they would take legal actions against the squad while holding Ancelotti solely responsible.

Napoli’s stars were eventually fined a total of £2m, but it only worsened Ancelotti’s relationship with De Laurentiis. The strainful relationship started off with disagreements over the summer transfer. It never improved. The outcome was evident at any moment.

A lot was expected during the Ancelotti regime, but the ship lost its way midway through the troubled waters. It is time to go, but for managers like Ancelotti, the next door would always open. Perhaps, some big clubs in England are waiting for him to manage their teams.

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