Napoli and Juventus are not, and have never been, opponents only on the pitch. The two Serie A giants will meet on Friday in a must-win that could confirm, or equally, overturn the whole league table.
The competition between them has always been visceral, deeply felt everywhere in Italy and often the reason why their encounters are particularly entertaining.
The match never remains confined inside the walls of a stadium. In fact, Friday will see the Northern, industrial Turin meet the Souther and agricultural Naples, as the game itself looks just like an excuse to prove which city prevails in the country.
🎙️Ex #SSCN & #Juve attacker, #Fonseca: "If #Napoli still had #Higuaín, they'd have already won the Scudetto. However, #Juventus are always hungry. Apart from #Pipita, they also have the genius of #Dybala."— Arjun Pradeep (@IndianRegista) November 24, 2017
[#GdS via #VS] pic.twitter.com/RuzqRGqmlb
In the past, this strong sense of competition between the two clubs has been taken too far by each side's supporters, who were often involved in violent clashes before, during and after the matches.
The perennial risk that a normal league game could end up in tragedy has progressively forced both cities and the Serie A federation to rule a ban that keeps the visiting fans from following their team in the away matches.
This year won't probably be any different. Over 50,000 tickets for a night at San Paolo Stadium have already been sold, as it is suspected that Napoli vs Juventus will hit the club's record sales of the season.
Biggest game of the season so far is next week.— The GodKing (@BATTLETIDE) November 26, 2017
Napoli vs Juventus.
However, no tickets have been, so far, issued for Juventus fans, who will almost certainly be prevented from travelling to Naples on Friday.
According to reports in Italy, the city's police have hinted that a ban against Bianconeri supporters is soon to be made public.
It is reasonable to think that the same will happen next spring, during the second leg in Turin.