Nikola Maksimovic believes he’s experienced a “rebirth” at Napoli thanks to new Coach Carlo Ancelotti.
The Serbian joined from Torino in the summer of 2016, but he struggled to break into the team under Maurizio Sarri.
After just 10 Serie A games in 18 months he was loaned out to Spartak Moscow in January, but he has been reintegrated under Ancelotti.
“The rebirth game with Ancelotti,” Maksimovic acknowledged on Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli.
“After the six month loan there was the chance to stay here. On the first day we talked and we understood each other well.
“I understood what he wanted, and I worked really hard to get this opportunity.
“Spartak? I thank [Massimo] Carrera, it was a good time with him, it was a short league season but a good experience.
“It’s a different league and it went well on a personal level, but the team didn’t reach the Champions League.
“I also want to thank Sarri, he was very attentive. When I came they said I could only play a back-three.
“Could I join him at Chelsea? I’m fine here! I actually don’t have anything bad to say about him, but I’m happy here, as are my family. I want to show my value.”
Maksimovic is playing with Kalidou Koulibaly, who is increasingly highly rated.
“He’s the best defender in the world, but I also have to thank Raul Albiol for helping us with his football experience.
“We have good defenders, we know each other well, and I’m happy to be alongside them.”
The centre-back was urged to delve deeper into Ancelotti’s impact on the Partenopei.
“His mentality is crucial and he’s brought that to Napoli,” Maksimovic explained.
“The Scudetto? This is the best place to win the Scudetto, it would be a dream. We’re strong and we can compete, the boss arrived six months ago and from the start he talked about the group, which is something we didn’t have before.
“He told us we’d eventually be able to do something important. Eight points is a big gap [to Juventus] and there’s a lot to do, but if we don’t win this year and the boss stays then we can fight.”
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Football Italia staff