"The renewal of Gattuso? We agreed a month and a half ago, the time to write and pass the contracts to his lawyers who represent him in Portugal. We shook hands, so it was just to write down the negotiations between us and accepted by both"
It was December 5, 2020 and these were the words of president Aurelio De Laurentiis to the journalists who pressed him asking why the renewal of his coach's contract had not yet been formalized.
On the other hand, there was Rino Gattuso who took off some great satisfaction on the pitch and in front of the microphones continued to insist that he never cared about contracts.
Then 2021 arrived, it was January and the signature on that agreement had not yet been put.
Today, less than two months after those declarations, it seems that a century has passed, because the situation has considerably and surprisingly changed.
In the middle of the starting point and the arrival point, some matches badly lost by the Neapolitan team, like those with Spezia and Verona, but above all the great disappointment of the defeat in the final of the Italian Super Cup against Juventus.
The failure of an important goal for Napoli, which not only led to a slowdown in the renewal practices also by De Laurentiis himself, but which was even one of the factors that prompted the patron to probe other coaches like Benitez, Allegri and Mazzarri.
A relationship, the one between the president and the coach, which probably cracked irreparably when possible substitutes were consulted, and so last night after the match won against Parma, Gattuso clearly expressed all his regret for this behavior, speaking explicitly about what had happened in front of the cameras.
"The relationship with the president has always been good, but after the last 15-20 days there is a bit of disappointment, because the situation has been badly managed. I have not sat at the table with anyone, despite being contacted , I was correct even though I had not signed. Having said that there is always great respect for him"
The target of the outburst, much wider, was also the local press, guilty of having offended him on a personal level, of having a defeatist attitude towards the team and of having written a lot of "bullshit" (as Ringhio defined it) about him. .
So what happens now?
For sure, the results could be the only lifeline for the Calabrian coach, but there is the risk that even those are not enough anymore.
For now ADL has not broken the silence, but we are sure that it has not taken well the outburst of his coach on live TV.
On social media, some supporters have even asked for Gattuso's immediate exemption, but it is likely that if Napoli manages to stay in all competitions and have concrete chances to achieve its goals, he will go on until the end of the season.
And then, if the relationships remain these, it will be goodbye. And for an incredible and paradoxical twist of fate, as many we have seen in football, that handshake will no longer have any value, the streets of Napoli and its coach will be divided and that white space on Gattuso's contract will remain irremediably and definitively empty.