Serie A – Napoli confirm Benitez as new manager
Former Internazionale, Liverpool and Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez will return to Italy to take charge of Serie A club Napoli.
Rafael Benitez and Aurelio De Laurentiis
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis posted a picture of himself shaking hands with Benitez on Twitter with the message: “Rafa Benitez is the new coach of Napoli. A man of great international experience. A leader.”
Napoli then stated: “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.”
Fitness coach Francisco de Miguel Moreno and goalkeeping coach Vicente Javier Valero Berchili, who were both part of his backroom team at Liverpool, Inter and Chelsea, will join him once again.
Benitez paid tribute to the Napoli fans after signing a two-year deal to replace Walter Mazzarri, who has moved to Inter.
“Now that the agreement is confirmed, I can say I am very happy and very satisfied for having committed to a great club with an illustrious heritage like Napoli,” he said on his official website.
“I understand the history of the city and how the club forms a fundamental part of the culture and traditions of Naples.
“I must confess that I am extremely excited because I can share my passion for football with the fans of Napoli; it is proven that they are very, very special.”
Mazzari left the club after their 2-1 loss at Roma in their last game of the season on Sunday and on Friday replaced the sacked Andrea Stramaccioni at Inter.
He took Napoli to second place in Serie A – their best finish in Serie A since winning the Scudetto in 1990 – and won the Coppa Italia last season.
Benitez had been acting as Chelsea’s interim manager since Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking in November.
Under his stewardship Chelsea finished third in the Premier League and won the Europa League. Despite his success, the Spaniard struggled to win over a section of the Chelsea supporters.
The 53-year-old has also had successful spells at Valencia and Liverpool before a disappointing six-month spell in charge of Inter.
Benitez is expected to be replaced at Stamford Bridge by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.