Napoli have appointed Rafael Benitez as their new manager on a two-year deal, further reinforcing the iminent arrival of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea.
The 53-year-old’s spell as interim Chelsea boss is up and he will replace Walter Mazzarri, who has joined Inter Milan.
Napoli finished a very impressive second in Serie A last season, behind Juventus and have qualified for next season’s Champions League.
Benitez said “I am very happy and very satisfied for having committed to a great club with an illustrious heritage like Napoli, I understand the history of the city and how the club forms a fundamental part of the culture and traditions of Naples.”
He went on to say, “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. I look forward to experiencing each and every one of the fans of Napoli and their strong support for this project that we will begin.”
Napoli Club President Aurelio De Laurentiis first announced the appointment on Twitter, posting a picture of him and Benitez shaking hands. The tweet stated: “Rafa Benitez is the new coach of Napoli, A man of great international experience. A leader.”
Benitez won La Liga with Valencia twice, and lead the the club to a Uefa Cup victory. He then spent six seasons in charge of Liverpool and guided the Reds to the Champions League and the FA Cup.
After a brief spell with Inter Milan in 2010, he was appointed as Chelsea Interim Boss in November 2012, Benitez guided the Blues to the Europa League title and third in the Premier League ensuring that the Blues would also play in the Champions League next season. He lead them to semi finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup.
With the departure of Benitez, Chelsea are expected to re-appoint former manager and ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho this summer. The Portuguese is due to depart from Real Madrid at the end of the season.