Following Italian champions Napoli’s shock defeat against Empoli on Serie A Matchday 12, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis acted quickly in sacking coach Rudi Garcia from his role. Walter Mazzarri has been hired in his place, marking his return to the club after 10 years away.
Garcia had only arrived at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the summer ahead of the 2023/24 season, having replaced Luciano Spalletti who opted to leave at the end of the club’s historic title-winning campaign in 2022/23.
As early as October, De Laurentiis spoke at the University of Rome and suggested that his patience had run out with Garcia, whom he chose to succeed Spalletti.
“I am having a bad time with him (Garcia),” De Laurentiis said. “I will make the appropriate decisions at the right time. When you hire a coach who no longer knows Italian football, it is normal to struggle.”
The Partenopei have had several issues this season, and the Frenchman has been at the centre of most. Discrepancies between Garcia and star players, most notably with Victor Osimhen, plagued his short time at the club.
On the pitch, though, Napoli have been a long way off the pace. In just six months, the Azzurri have gone from winning the Scudetto to sitting 10 points behind current leaders, Inter.
The club waited until negotiations concluded with Walter Mazzarri before announcing that Garcia had been sacked. The Frenchman, though, was informed of the club’s decision late on Sunday evening.
Empoli loss the final nail in Garcia’s Napoli coffin
The news of Garcia‘s sacking by Napoli will not come as a shock to anyone. The Frenchman’s job has been the topic of speculation for some time now, it became clear in recent weeks that his dismissal would only be a matter of time and the writing was on the wall.
The Partenopei lost four times under Garcia, against Empoli, Fiorentina, and Lazio in Serie A and to Real Madrid in the Champions League.
With key fixtures against Real Madrid and SC Braga in the Champions League and games against Atalanta, Juventus, Inter, and AS Roma in Serie A awaiting the side after the international break, De Laurentiis opted to sack the coach and bring in Mazzarri with time to get to work.
When Empoli scored in the 92nd minute, an animated De Laurentiis furiously left his seat and his decision was made.
Why Napoli chose Walter Mazzarri over Igor Tudor
Napoli had been in contact with Igor Tudor to replace Garcia, but in the end they opted for a familiar face in Mazzarri, who retuns to coach the club after doing so between 2009 and 2013.
Tudor is thought to have been keen to sign a deal until 2025, while Napoli were pushing for a short-term contract running until 2024.
Mazzarri penned a short-term deal with Napoli which runs until June 2024 – the end of the current season.