Former Napoli midfielder Antonio Juliano has died at the age of 80, the Serie A side have announced.
Juliano made more than 500 appearances in all competitions for the Partenopei from 1962 to 1978, helping the club win the Coppa delle Alpi, the Coppa Italia and the Anglo-Italian League Cup.
He retired in 1979 after a season with Bologna and returned to Napoli as sporting director, a role in which he played a key part in the signing of Diego Maradona in 1984.
Today is one of the saddest days in Napoli's history and for our supporters. Antonio Juliano, who was Mr Napoli for two decades, has passed away.If you are not familiar with him, it is worth finding out more about him and what he represented in our city.Rest in peace, Totonno. pic.twitter.com/t4nobEjACB
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) December 13, 2023
Former Napoli owner Corrado Ferlaino recalled how the deal was secured in an interview with CBS Sports last year.
“Before my arrival I had sent two of my men to Barcelona to talk with Maradona, his agent and the club,” Ferlaino said.
“Antonio Juliano, a former Napoli player who at the time was a member of our board and with him I sent a businessman as well, Dino Celentano, a friend of mine and a person I could trust for the negotiations.
“The two of them had the task to find an agreement with both Barcelona and the player. We arrived late in the evening and the final signature on the contracts arrived around midnight.”
Morto Antonio Juliano, una vita per il Napoli https://t.co/bLVt1ENBs7
— Il Mattino (@mattinodinapoli) December 13, 2023
During his playing career Juliano won 18 caps for Italy and was part of the winning side in the European Championship in 1968, but made just one World Cup appearance as a substitute in the 1970 final defeat to Brazil.
“Today is one of the saddest days in Napoli’s history and for our supporters,” a statement on Napoli’s official account on X – formerly known as Twitter – read.
“Antonio Juliano, who was Mr Napoli for two decades, has passed away. If you are not familiar with him, it is worth finding out more about him and what he represented in our city. Rest in peace, Totonno.”