Napoli won the final match of the 38th round of the 2022-2023 Serie A season against Sampdoria at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy, on Friday. They finished the season on a high note.
The match was a farewell for coach Luciano Spalletti. He announced that he”s stepping down as coach after this season to take a well-deserved break. Napoli also announced that they would let Spalletti go, despite the fact that he still has time left on his contract.
Kim Min-jae did not play on the day due to accumulated cautions and had to watch the game from the stands, but he did show up in a Napoli jersey.
Before kickoff, Kim was presented with the Serie A Best Defender trophy for the 2022-2023 season. He raised his hands to greet the home fans and posed with the trophy. Kim also posed for a photo with MVP Hvitsa Kvaracelia and best attacker Victor Osimhen.
This is likely the last we’ll see of Kim in a Napoli jersey. He was reportedly close to a move to Manchester United last summer, just one season after joining Napoli. Italian club Calcio Napoli waved goodbye to him in advance, saying “addio Kim Min-jae”.
Napoli fans erupted in cheers as Kim walked out. “KIM! KIM! KIM! KIM! KIM! KIM!” they chanted as he applauded and waved. It was a glimpse of the love Napoli fans have for Kim, who has been outstanding this season and led the team to its first Scudetto in 33 years.
Napoli fans in the stadium chanted “KIM” and “KIM” as Kim made his entrance.
Napoli signed Kim from Turkkiye Fenerbahçe ahead of the season to fill the void left by the departure of key defender Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea. That’s why Koulibaly has been mentioned over and over again in local reports about Kim.
In his first year in Serie A, Kim defied expectations that he would be unable to fill Koulibaly’s shoes and led Napoli to their first Scudetto in 33 years with his steady defense.
Kim scored two goals and provided two assists in 35 appearances up until the 37th round, which became the threshold for the award. His playing time was second only to DiLorenzo. He ranked among the league leaders in most defensive metrics, including second in aerial balls won (92), fourth in clearances (122), and 10th in total balls won (157). Even if you take away Napoli’s championship halo, Kim’s performances were among the best of any defender in the league.
It’s even more significant that he accomplished all of this in just his first season in the big leagues. It’s also significant that he brushed aside any local doubts he might have had with a season-long run of top-notch defense.
Kim joined Napoli from Fenerbahçe (Turkkiye) in July last year, making his first appearance in the European big leagues. He was identified as a defender to fill the void left by the departure of key defender Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea. The transfer fee was only 18.1 million euros (25.4 billion won).
At the time of the transfer, there were more questions than answers. He had no experience in the big leagues and Koulibaly’s presence was too great. Kim’s answer to the doubters was to win the Player of the Month (September) award just two months after his debut. It was also a first for an Asian player.
It wasn’t just a flash in the pan at the start of the season. Kim has been a key part of Napoli’s defense, putting in solid defensive performances every game. In March of this year, he was nominated for another Player of the Month award. Although he fell short of becoming the first defender in history to win two Player of the Month awards, the nomination was significant. He was consistently ranked among the top 11 in the Serie A season ratings on Fúscore.com. This means that he was a consistent and dazzling presence throughout the season.
Napoli’s defense was one of the driving forces behind their rise to the top of the league, 33 years after the Diego Maradona era.
It is likely that Kim’s career at Napoli will end after just one season. Italian media are reporting that Kim will leave Napoli for Manchester United in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Kim had a €60 million ($84.1 billion) buyout clause in his contract with Napoli, which means Manchester United will activate it to sign him. The clause will be activated between Jan. 1 and 15 next month.
On the 5th, local media outlets such as Kiskisradio were confident that “Kim Min-jae is going to Manchester United”.
The league final against Sampdoria could have been Kim’s farewell game at Napoli, but he was dropped from the roster after receiving his fifth caution of the season against Bologna on March 28, serving a one-match suspension for accumulating five cautions. Instead of returning home early, Kim decided to stay with the Napoli squad until the end.
Kim attended the Serie A championship ceremony after the game with a smile on his face.먹튀검증
Napoli finished the final with a 2-0 victory. Victor Osimhen scored the first goal from the penalty spot in the 19th minute of the second half, and Giovanni Simeone added a second goal in the 40th minute to secure the 2-0 victory.
Osimhen, who was named Serie A’s Best Offensive Player, is now Serie A’s top scorer with 26 goals this season. He is the first African to lead the league in Serie A history. Hvitsa Kvarachelia was named Player of the Season and Luciano Spalletti was named Coach of the Season.