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Napoli ready to punish Elmas for speaking to the media

5:45 AM SGT 17/11/19
Eljif Elmas Napoli 2019-20
The Macedonia defender was talking up his side's Serie A chances but could now be punished for simply talking at all

Napoli have warned Eljif Elmas he could be punished for breaching a club media blackout after giving an interview while on international duty.

Twenty-year-old midfielder Elmas could face a costly rap after being quoted by various outlets during his time away with Macedonia, despite telling reporters Napoli could still vie for the Serie A title.

The Naples club appear to be in disarray after first-team players rebelled en masse and quit a training retreat earlier this month.

That getaway to nearby Castel Volturno was ordered by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis, following a run of disappointing results, but it was dramatically cut short after a Champions League match against Salzburg.

Napoli hinted at taking legal action against their own squad, saying on November 6 the club would "do everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests", and ruling there would be no media communication "for the foreseeable future".

A goalless draw at home to Genoa followed for Carlo Ancelotti's team, leaving Napoli, who finished runners-up to Juventus last season, sitting seventh in Serie A.

In the latest twist, a statement attributed to head of communications Nicola Lombardo was posted by Napoli on Twitter, saying: "SSC Napoli can confirm that Eljif Elmas spoke to the press without the club's authorisation during the current media blackout.

"SSC Napoli therefore reserves the right to take action against the player."

Napoli's statement was issued barely half an hour before Elmas took to the pitch for Macedonia in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Austria, which they ended up losing 2-1. 

In his interview, widely reported in Italy, Elmas said Juventus were well placed to win another Serie A title but stressed his side were still in the mix to challenge for silverware. 

"There are so many teams in the fight: Inter, Napoli and Roma," he said. "The battle will be uncertain until the end."

Napoli are currently seventh in Serie A, 13 points shy of leaders Juve, and have failed to win their past four league matches. 

Elmas has made seven league appearances for Napoli this season after joining the club from Turkish side Fenerbahce.