Gennaro Gattuso’s reign as Napoli coach may have started amid turmoil but the former Italy international has put the Serie A club on the path towards a potential Champions League triumph against Barcelona.
The southern Italians head for the Camp Nou on Saturday with a first ever Champions League quarter-final berth beckoning.
“We certainly want to write an important page in our history,” said Gattuso of a feat which not even Argentine legend Diego Maradona managed to achieve with the club.
Both sides are 1-1 after the last 16, first leg in the San Paulo Stadium in February.
But Lionel Messi’s Spaniards have not been beaten at home in the Champions League in seven years as they target a 13th consecutive quarter-final berth.
Barcelona finished second in La Liga while Napoli were seventh in Serie A, but having secured a Europa League spot thanks to their Italian Cup victory.
Gattuso admitted his “head was already on Barcelona” as his side wrapped up their league season with a 3-1 win over Lazio last weekend.
“We will play on a high level stage and we want to be worthy of it,” he said.
“We know that if we want to compete against Barcelona we will have to take risks.”