Napoli to hold unexpected press conference; Rafa Benitez to Real Madrid announcement expected
Napoli has announced a press conference on Thursday where the announcement of manager Rafael Benitez’s exit from the club is expected. The Spaniard is widely expected to take over from Carlo Ancelotti at La Liga club Real Madrid.
The announcement of the press conference is shocking as Serie A will not finish before this weekend when Napoli play Lazio, where the winner will take the final UEFA Champions League spot.
Napoli released the following statement announcing the press conference:
"President Aurelio De Laurentiis announced this afternoon that in a few hours’ time there would be some news.
“That news is that at 1pm (local time) on Thursday, there will be a press conference held by the club president, alongside Rafa Benitez."
After Ancelotti’s sacking was announced by Real Madrid on Monday night, the press has gone into overdrive speculating the new manager of the Merengues. Madrid President Florentino Perez had revealed that they would be announcing the name of the new manager in a week.
Ancelotti’s agent Ernesto Bronzetti had recently admitted that he expects Rafa to take over the reins at Madrid. “ Benitez is 99 per cent sure to go to Real,” said Bronzetti.
Rafa Benitez has a history with Madrid, who he called his “sweetheart”, as he started his managerial career with the Los Blancos’ reserve side, which is currently being managed by former player Zinedine Zidane.
Rafa’s managerial career so far
Benitez is no stranger to the Spanish league as he managed Valencia ending their 31-year La Liga title drought in his first season in charge in 2001-02. He repeated the feat in 2003-04 and also won the UEFA Cup that season.
After falling out with the Valencia Director of Football over transfers, the 55-year-old took over Liverpool and led them to UEFA Champions League glory in the first season (2004-05). He won the FA Cup the following year and reached the final of the Champions League in 2007 and came close to winning the league in 2009.
He joined Inter Milan in 2010 just a few days after being dismissed by the Premier League giants, but was sacked just 6 months in charge despite winning the FIFA Club World Cup. After taking a two-year sabbatical, he returned to the Premier League with Chelsea on an interim basis and won the Europa League.
His stint at Napoli started in 2013 when he signed a two-year contract with the Italian club. The fans immediately took to the Spaniard as he won them the Coppa Italia in his first season in charge and helped them qualify for the Champions League for the next season.