In an article about football transfer rumours on the newspaper’s website on Thursday, the report said that Napoli, “a club from one of Italy’s mafia strongholds”, is interested in making a move on Manchester United player Danny Welbeck.
The article caused a media storm in Italy, prompting the Italian club to hit back, saying in a statement that it “would not judge a city like Newcastle on the basis of MTV’s Geordie Shore."
The club added that the mafia reference was an “archaic impression that is also rejected by English tourists who every year choose Italy – and Naples – as their holiday destination.”
“They would not do that if they thought that Naples is Italy's mafia stronghold, a place where people fire at or rob each other in the street,” the statement said.
“We would not judge a city like Newcastle on the basis of MTV's Geordie Shore; we do not think all of that city's inhabitants are rude, gym-addicted and sociopathic. It is a shame to see the Guardian did not afford Naples the same courtesy."