The Napoli is in a special season. Indeed, the Napolitans, struggling in the league, qualified for the next Europa League thanks to an Italian Cup victory over Juventus Turin just after the confinement. And Dries Mertens, Napoli’s attacking leader, had a very big part to play.
Dries Mertens has had it all this season. The 33-year-old Belgian striker, who was due to end his contract in June 2020, has snatched his contract extension on the pitch, at the end of a rather successful 2019-2020 campaign. Indeed, while he has had some difficult days, like the Partenopei, the Belgian has emerged from the underworld since the beginning of 2020 and represents the renewal of his team. Despite a fine win over Fiorentina on the opening day, the Neapolitans have suffered a string of defeats against Juve, Cagliari at SPAL and a draw against Torino. Indeed, the start to the Neapolitans’ ultra-tough season cost Carlo Ancelotti his head, who was dismissed on 10 December and replaced by Gennaro Gattuso.
Dries Martens’ team-mates took advantage of the Champions League to put a smile back on their faces in the midst of a difficult period in Italy. After inflicting a 2-0 defeat on reigning European champions Liverpool on the opening day of the LDC, Napoli managed to qualify as runners-up in the group and face Barca in the Round of 16. The first match at the San Paolo ended in a 1-1 draw before a return to the Camp Nou, finally postponed to August due to covid-19. Despite a controlled first match against Barça, Gattuso’s men are far from being favourites according to the bookmakers. Moreover, despite this good result, the summer will be hot for Napoli and in particular for Mertens.
Despite his advanced age, the striker showed himself to be particularly fit in the second half of the season in order to secure a new contract. Tracked down by several English clubs in previous years, he is well on his way to staying in Italy for the rest of his career, in a city and region that is a paradise. At the age of 33, he is getting better with age, both on and off the pitch, a sign that Mertens is a very good vintage. Third at the 2018 World Cup, the Belgian has an excellent summer market rating and his six goals (1 assist) in seven LDC matches confirm all the good things that can be imagined of the striker.
Off the field too, he is rather discreet but does not fail to feed his Instagram feed. Funny, comical, and a lover of good wine and food, Mertens is a good level and enjoys the Naples side. His wife also accompanies him on many of his media outings. A sign that the couple is healthy and of the importance of style and allure at Mertens for a few seasons now.