Napoli's forward from Belgium Dries Mertens (L) celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Genoa vs Napoli on October 25, 2017 at the Ferraris stadium in Genova. / AFP / Vincenzo PINTO
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Napoli's starting 11 is virtually the same as it was last season and the squad's core hasn't changed since Rafa Benitez coached the club in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 .Yet Napoli appear vastly improved from a year ago, and holdovers like Dries Mertens, club youth product Lorenzo Insigne and captain Marek Hamsik – in his 11th season with the club – have guided the team to its best start in history with nine wins and a draw in 10 matches.Instead, Napoli spent their money on contract extensions for Mertens (a four-year deal that included a salary boost from 1.5 million euros to 4.5 million euros per season) and Insigne (a five-year deal at 5 million euros per season).Napoli have finished in the top three in Serie A in five of the last seven seasons and are now on course to win their first title since Diego Maradona led the team to its two championships in 1987 and 1990 .
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