121 - Dries Mertens' opener against Barcelona was his 121st goal for Napoli in all competitions, moving him level with Marek Hamsik as the joint-top scorer in the club's history. Landmark. pic.twitter.com/lYwcYoSful— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 25, 2020
Having signed for the Naples club in 2013 for a €9.5m from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, Mertens faced strong competition to get into the first team at all.
In his position, there was former Inter forward Goran Pandev, fellow newcomer José Callejón and fan favourite Lorenzo Insigne. Yet Mertens was given ample opportunities by then-manager Rafael Benitez and repaid that faith by scoring the first of many goals for Gli Azzurri, netting an away winner at Fiorentina in a 2-1 win.
While Mertens didn't start the 2014 Coppa Italia final, his cameo off the bench remains a memorable one.
Coming on for Hamšík in the 64th minute, the Belgian was still able to impact the game and finished off Callejón's pass to seal the 3-1 victory. This remains his only trophy at the club to date.
Mertens had, by this point in 2016, established himself as a starter for Napoli, but this was the game that demonstrated his ability to be the team’s genuine attacking focal point, scoring a second half hat trick to inspire his team to a comfortable 6-0 win over Bologna.
Well, it's fair to say that 2016 was a good year for the Mertens, but this two week period was a particularly fruitful one. Having scored a hat-trick in a dominant 5-0 win over Cagliari, he followed up that display with another four goals in a goal-crazy 5-3 win over Torino.
Century of Goals
While supporters had grown accustomed to the sight of Mertens scoring a billion goals for their team, the two goals he scored against Red Star Belgrade in a 2018 Champions League game were particularly significant, for one of them was his 100th goal for the Italian club.
The feat was impressive, considering he'd only been at the club for five years at that point.
Joint All-Time Goal Scorer
Of course, this list has to include Wednesday night's goal against Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie. His goal drew him level with Hamšík on 121 goals, cementing his place in Neapolitan folklore.