(from left to right): President of Napoli Aurelio De Laurentiis, midfielder Gokhan Inler, MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco VagoToday MSC Cruises signed a sponsorship agreement with Naples’ world-famous football club S.S.C. Napoli S.p.A., known simply as Napoli.

The sponsorship brings together two giants of Italian and Neapolitan excellence: MSC Cruises - founded as a subsidiary of the larger MSC Group by shipping legend Gianluigi Aponte, which has swiftly grown to become the fourth largest cruise company in the world, and Napoli - whose team reached the Champions League under the leadership of De Laurentiis this year, and is looking forward to an intense and rewarding season.

The agreement sees cruise leader MSC take on the mantle of Official Sponsor of the historic Italian football club, and its logo will accompany the team in all its matches around the world next year.

MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago and President of Napoli Aurelio De Laurentiis met for the occasion onboard MSC Splendida, docked in the port of Naples, where Napoli also presented another star to join its ranks: midfielder Gokhan Inler.

“We welcome MSC Cruises with sincere enthusiasm as it links its prestigious name with our club and co-sponsor Acqua Lete, testifying to the international strength of Napoli as we look with confidence beyond Italian and European borders. It is important for companies promoting Naples and its traditions worldwide to see all of us here at Napoli pooling our energies with an international leader like MSC,” declared Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“Napoli is an ideal partner for MSC Cruises, a multinational company that is still strongly tied to Italy, the Campania Region and Naples and Sorrento in particular. Today more than ever, we look to the future firm in the belief that there’s no growth without roots and that our origins define both who we are and what will be”, affirmed MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago.

As Official Sponsor, the MSC Cruises logo will be displayed on the team’s famous blue shirts for the 2011-2012 football season. The agreement also includes an already tight program of events, tournaments and special promotions for fans, as well as theme cruises.