Napoli face Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on August 8, and Gennaro Gattuso could be handed a double fitness boost.
The tie is finely poised at 1-1 after an enthralling encounter in Naples earlier this year prior to the lockdown, and the pressure is certainly on the Catalan giants given their disappointment domestically this season.
They will be desperate to claim some silverware and end on a high, but Napoli won’t be interested in that as Gattuso looks to add another trophy to his cabinet after picking up the Coppa Italia already.
In order to have the best possible chance of prevailing and advancing to the next round, the Partenopei will need to keep it tight at the back first and foremost, and then build on that to find an away goal or two and eliminate Barcelona from the competition.
With that in mind, they will potentially be boosted by the availability of both Kostas Manolas and Nikola Maksimovic, with Tuttomercatoweb noting that Gattuso is expected to have a full squad for the clash with Barcelona as the pair are set to recover from their respective injury setbacks.
Both players are even touted to be involved in the final Serie A game of this season this weekend, and they’ll be hoping to get minutes under the belts to prove their fitness and make a case for a starting berth next to Kalidou Koulibaly.
Manolas has history against Barcelona in the Champions League given his exploits with Roma a couple of seasons ago, and he’ll be hoping to be involved to try and pull off a similar result to help Napoli move into the next round.
Given the defensive solidity that the pair can provide, it will be a real boost for Gattuso to have them at his disposal, but time will tell if they have enough to get the better of their opponents in a crunch encounter at the Camp Nou.