De Laurentiis: I want to put Napoli on the same level as Real Madrid and Barcelona

The film producer feels a new stadium is key to establishing the Partenopei as one of Europe's elite, as he prepares to meet the mayor of Naples on Friday to discuss his plans
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed his goal is to put his club on the same level as Real Madrid and Barcelona by redeveloping the San Paolo.

The film producer has overseen a dramatic upturn in the Partenopei's fortunes since acquiring the side in 2004, with Walter Mazzarri's men last year qualifying for the Champions League for the first time.

However, while Napoli reached the quarter-finals, De Laurentiis believes expanding their stadium is a must if they are to really establish themselves as a major force in European football.

"On a structural level, I would like to be able to drag the club on a par with Real Madrid and Barcelona," the supremo told Corriere dello Sport.

"I had the chance to speak with mayor [Luigi] De Magistriis, whom I will meet [again] on Friday: We will discuss the stadium, [and] the necessary and desirable course of action."

Addressing the playing squad, De Laurentiis admitted he was disappointed by the departure of Ezequiel Lavezzi to Paris Saint-Germain but explained that he was not prepared to stand in the Argentine's way.

"It was fair: he had asked to leave a year ago to leave; I made a promise to him," the 63-year-old explained.

"We met on a boat, it was a frank chat; sincere. He behaved well. He felt within himself the need [to leave].

"Besides, nobody can not exclude [the possibility] that he will come back to us one day."

Meanwhile, De Laurentiis did his best to end his war of words with agent Mino Raiola, who reacted angrily to the Napoli president's claims that the agent was trying to unsettle attacking midfielder Marek Hamsik.

"I will not stoke up controversy from a distance," De Laurentiis insisted. "I was being ironic and funny with him, but he didn't understand ... "

Napoli, who won the Coppa Italia last season, will face Serie A champions Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana in Beijing, China on August 11.