ROME (Reuters) - Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis called on Neapolitans to flock to London after the popular Serie A club were drawn against Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League on Friday.
Napoli host the Premier League side at the San Paolo stadium on February 14 or 15 before travelling to Stamford Bridge for the return leg in March.
“Chelsea are a tough side but we’ll give it a shot,” film producer De Laurentiis told Naples station Radio Marte immediately after the draw.
“It will be a great contest that gives us a chance to show how strong we are both mentally and physically. (Drawing) Arsenal may have been easier but I don’t know.
“It’s going to spark a lot of interest. We are in the public eye and the international media will again be talking about us. They are going to be great nights, and I dream there will be many Neapolitans heading to London to back us.”
Napoli, fifth in Serie A, have surprised many in their first venture into Europe’s top competition in two decades, taking four points off Premier League opponents Manchester City and finishing second in their group behind Bayern Munich.
“Chelsea are one of the strongest sides in Europe,” coach Walter Mazzarri told Radio Marte. “If we want to go through we will have to play two perfect matches.”
Mazzarri, who often complains his squad rely too heavily on attacking trio Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi, ruled out adding numbers in the January transfer window.
“We will only buy players if they are better than the ones we have now,” he said. “We already have too many players.”
Reporting by Richard Allen; Editing by Clare Fallon