Serie A news

Benitez appointed by Napoli

May 27, 2013
By ESPN staff

Rafa Benitez has been confirmed as the new manager of Serie A side Napoli, the club's president has announced.

Benitez spent much of last season in temporary charge at Chelsea
GettyImagesBenitez spent much of last season in temporary charge at Chelsea

Benitez, whose final match as interim manager of Chelsea was Sunday's friendly against Manchester City at New York's Yankee Stadium, takes over at the Stadio San Paolo following the departure of Walter Mazzari after the club finished second in the Italian league.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced via Twitter: "Rafa Benitez is the new trainer of Napoli. A man with great international experience. A leader."

Benitez confirmed fitness coach Franciso de Miguel Moreno and goalkeeping coach Vicente Javier Valero Berchili, who both followed him from Liverpool to Inter Milan and Chelsea, will join him at Napoli.

The Spaniard expressed his excitement at undertaking a new "project", citing the passion of fans in Naples as a driving force in his decision to return to Italy.

"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, www.rafabenitez.com. "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. 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.

"I'm happy to become a member of that great family of Naples and thus we can share the triumphs together. We will begin from the start as we mean to go on and we will fight from the beginning to achieve success for the fans of SSC Napoli."

Napoli later confirmed the signing on their official website in a statement which read: "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."

Former Liverpool and Valencia boss Benitez will be hoping his second stint in Italy is more successful than his first. Having taken over at Inter Milan the summer after Jose Mourinho led the Nerazzurri to a league, cup and Champions League Treble in 2010, the Spaniard was fired before the year was out.

However, after spending time out of the game, the Spaniard rebuilt his reputation at Stamford Bridge. He came in on a temporary basis last November in the wake of Roberto Di Matteo's sacking and - despite vehement opposition from sections of the club's fans - led the Blues to automatic qualification for the Champions League as well as the Europa League title.

That trophy added to the 53-year-old's haul of silverware, which also includes two La Liga titles from his time at Valencia and one Champions League and FA Cup each at Liverpool.