Rafa Benitez has been announced as the new manager of Italian club Napoli.
The Spaniard, who was appointed as the interim manager for Chelsea after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked midway through the season, returns to the Serie A, after an earlier spell with Inter. He took charge at San Siro back in 2010, but was sacked from the post after just five months into the job as Inter slipped down the Serie A table.
But Benitez has proved his credentials once again at Chelsea, as he lead the London club to their first Europa League title and also ensured their top three status by the end of the season. Benitez’s appointment at the English club was met with scepticism by critics and fans, but he has managed to win them over, at least some of them, by the time the season ended. Although a large part of the Chelsea support still hold grudges against him, Benitez has laid a good foundation for his successor (Mourinho in all likelihood) to build upon.
After weeks of speculations, Napoli have finally confirmed his appointment as the new manager. Benitez comes in as the replacement of Walter Mazzarri, who has taken the club to new heights during his four year spell. The 51-year-old seemed adamant that he has taken the club as far as he could and wanted newer challenges – something which he is sure to get in abundance at his new club Inter.
Napoli finished second in the league, nine points behind eventual champions Juventus, for the first time since the 1988-89 season. It will be a challenge for Rafa Benitez to improve on this result, especially considering the fact that the Naples based club are expected to lose their star striker, Cavani, in the transfer market. Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis will have to back Benitez in the transfer market in order to maintain their competitive edge, as their rivals are sure to strengthen their squad in the summer.
— AurelioDeLaurentiis (@ADeLaurentiis) May 27, 2013
De Laurentiis announced the arrival of Benitez via twitter. He was delighted with this new appointment and introduced Benitez as ‘a man of great international experience’ and as a ‘leader’. The club also released an official statement regarding this move on their website.
“Rafa Benitez is the new coach of Napoli. The agreement was signed today in London. SSC Napoli is happy to welcome a coach so prestigious in their own family. A welcome also to his collaborators.“ – The statement on Napoli’s website read.
This is a great opportunity for Rafa Benitez to redeem his reputation in Italy and silence his critics once and for all.