The birth of a new Napoli: From Serie A also-rans to Champions League contenders
Right now, the people of Naples are preparing for the biggest party the city has seen since the last time their team won the Italian title, in 1990. Flags are unfurling, bunting is being rolled out and new murals of Diego Maradona are appearing everywhere.
With Napoli 16 points clear at the summit of Serie A with just nine matches remaining, the sense of excitement among the supporters is palatable.
It was all so different at the start of the season, though. The fans were furious back then, outraged at the departures of one key player after another during a summer of serious discontent.
Former captain Lorenzo Insigne, all-time leading goalscorer Dries Mertens, striker Arkadiusz Milik, goalkeeper David Ospina and defender Faouzi Ghoulam had all left on free transfers, Fabian Ruiz had been snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain, and, most depressingly of all, club legend Kalidou Koulibaly had been sold to Chelsea.
Coach Luciano Spalletti was hardly to blame. He openly admitted that he was concerned by the loss of so many leaders, and Koulibaly's exit hit him particularly hard. He adored the Senegal centre-half not only as a player, but a man, and had even threatened to chain himself to the gates of the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to prevent Koulibaly from leaving.
However, Spalletti wasn't spared from criticism.