Crisis-hit Inter tackle Napoli | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 26, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:57 AM, December 26, 2018

Crisis-hit Inter tackle Napoli

Inter Milan's new CEO Giuseppe Marotta has begun to ring the changes at crisis-hit Inter Milan with the axe falling on Belgian bad boy Radja Nainggolan who has been suspended for disciplinary reasons by the club despite Wednesday's key Serie A game against Napoli looming.

Marotta arrived at the Chinese-owned Italian club from Juventus this month after an eight-year spell during which the Turin giants won seven Serie A titles and four Italian Cups.

And the 61-year-old Marotta wants to turn the clock back for Inter whose best decade, culminating with the treble of Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup crowns under Jose Mourinho in 2010, has been followed by the worst.

Nainggolan was suspended after again turning up late to training on Sunday following the team's demoralising 1-1 draw against bottom club Chievo.

Inter are third, already 16 points behind leaders Juventus, and eight adrift of second-placed Napoli, who are on a 10-game unbeaten run in Serie A.

Carlo Ancelotti is expecting a challenge against his old rival Spalletti whose side are nevertheless on a streak of six straight home league wins at the San Siro.

"I don't know, they give me the impression of being a growing club and team," said Ancelotti.

Inter's last win over Napoli was in April 2016 with captain Mauro Icardi scoring his only goal in 13 games played against the southerners.

Spalletti, meanwhile, leads eight to six in Italian league wins over Ancelotti.

Christmas break for Ronaldo

Unbeaten champions Juventus head to Atalanta, in ninth, in record-breaking form, having not conceded a league goal in nearly two months.

Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to be rested for the first time this season, with Douglas Costa likely to slip into the Portuguese star's position alongside in-form Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala.

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