Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has fuelled exit talks by admitting he misses his family in Liverpool.
The Spaniard guided Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League title and 2007 final during his six years at Anfield. Benitez also deserves credit for restructuring the academy with youngsters like Raheem Sterling and Suso who have been added to the first team recently by Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool fans still remember his achievements fondly and respect his legacy. Benitez himself appreciates the love and has admitted he wanted to return as a manager one day to Liverpool. Currently with Italian club Napoli, his contractual situation has been the source of constant speculation as it expires this summer. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Benitez refused to make his intentions clear.
“My family are away from me, my wife and two daughters live in Liverpool. It’s the first time I haven’t had them with me, it’s not easy.”
“De Laurentiis knows how important my family values are to me.”
“Experience tells me we have to work on the current project,” Benitez explained.
“I often speak with Riccardo Bigon, and I always say to De Laurentiis that he must ensure the future of the club regardless of myself. The problem isn’t the renewal, but sharing the same vision, it’s not a question of money or signings. We need to work to see if we can win together going forward or not, and then we’ll see.”
“A project isn’t dependent on a single result. It’s important to create a basis for improvement, and always have the opportunity to win by attracting better players year-on-year.Juve are an example: the structure of the club, the squad, the organisation at board level,where they have people people who have established themselves over the years.”
“The players and the boardroom structure make all the difference.”
Benitez highlighted the recent call-ups for Callejon and Koulibaly to point out his successful method of training.
“In the past, when I was asked the question [about the Spain job], and I answered, I was in newspaper headlines like ‘Benitez wants the national team’. It might be an idea of course, but I like to work on the pitch on a daily basis. I’m a teacher, my approach is to teach.
“I work on a player’s mind so that they understand football, not just on a piece of paper.The international call-ups for [Jose] Callejon and [Kalidou] Koulibaly are a reward for them and for my work.”
Napoli endured a tough start to the season, but have hit form in recent weeks, rising to third in the table behind Roma and Juventus.