Soccer

Napoli Improve With 3 Real Madrid Exes

Gonzalo Higuain

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Napoli of the Serie A has hired Rafa BenitezĀ to coach them all the way to the league title and to go far down the road in the Champions League. However, just hiring a coach is not going to be sufficient as the players have to do the dirty work on the field. That is why three former Real Madrid guys were brought in as reinforcements.

Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol have the experience of the UCL, La Liga, Copa Del Rey and international games written down on their resumes. Signing them was a crucial necessity for a team that just sold their leading striker and overall best player in Edison Cavani to Paris Saint Germain of France.

Higuain, 25, is one of the leading strikers for Argentina’s national team. He had surgery on a slipped disc which caused him to lose his starting spot at Madrid to Karim Benzema once he recovered from the operation. Since 2007, he scored 107 goals in 190 appearances. He did this in an extremely fast-paced league that is physical up to a certain point but not as physical as the Serie A.

This league will provide a new physically and mentally challenging adventure for the striker who is expected to net at least 20-25 goals in order to help with a title push. If he stays healthy and finds a good form, he will not disappoint.

Callejon, 26, has played for Madrid since 2011 but was only limited to 55 appearances and scored eight goals. He has the talent to start almost anywhere, but the capital club of Spain has talents far greater than his which is why he mostly appeared off the bench. Luckily, Benitez sees something in him that no coach at Madrid has — speed, technique, dribbling and a keen eye for goal. And with more minutes, he will live up the small hype to prove his new coach is absolutely right.

Albiol is 27 and known as decent center-back. He did start for Madrid when he first joined, but in the last couple of seasons, he would mostly come into the games off the pine to defend slender leads in the final 20′ or so. He will eventually start for Napoli, and with his former Real teammates he will start a new brand of success for a side who is striving to be the best in Italy.