Benitez loving Napoli passion

Napoli boss Rafael Benitez is loving life back in Italy as he seeks to guide his side to silverware.

Last Updated: 30/09/13 at 12:10 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: Loving life at Napoli

Rafael Benitez: Loving life at Napoli

Benitez won the Italian Super Cup and the Club World Cup with Inter Milan in 2010 in his first spell in Italy, but was sacked after just six months.

Now back in management after a successful spell as interim Chelsea manager last season, in which he guided the Blues to Europa League success, his new club are sitting second in Serie A after collecting 16 points from their opening six games.

Benitez used funds from the big-money sale of striker Edison Cavani to reshape his squad, including bringing in Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon from Real Madrid, while Pepe Reina arrived on a season-loan from Liverpool.

He is up for the challenge ahead of trying to guide his new club to their first Serie A title since 1990.

Challenge

He told the Daily Mail: "I met the president and I liked the challenge. I could feel from the first day the passion and the idea to improve was there.

"We knew that maybe Cavani would go, so we had to be sure about signing the right players.

"I've signed four or five players with this money, all with international experience, who can give the message to the rest of the world that Napoli is growing."

Superstar Diego Maradona was at the club when Napoli last lifted the title and Benitez wants to also bring success.

He added: "Everybody talks about Maradona. Everybody enjoys football here and so he is an idol and it's important for everyone. He was one of the best players in the world and he made the difference.

"I think it's important to have idols in the past and big names here now and what we have to do is think about the future."

Too early

Napoli take on Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and Benitez admits he does not know if his side can win the tournament.

He said: "It is too early to say if we can be contenders.

"There are many strong teams. You cannot question the quality of the English clubs, but you can see the other teams are improving too. You have to keep moving forward."

Meanwhille, Benitez has the full backing of Reina, who believes the Spanish tactician has improved since the pair last worked together at Liverpool.

The keeper said: "He's the best manager I've worked with.

"He's just as good as ever. If anything, he is probably a little more complete, with much more experience. He has become a much better manager."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

F

irst Townsend, now Chiles. What next ITV? Comedy that you can actually watch without vomiting up your own spleen? I'll be sad to see Matt Smith go though. I actually quite like him. Plus, he was good in Doctor Who.

sailingmagpie
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

H

e's like Jay from Inbetweeners. Could've had him, had him, didn't want him, turned him down.

lee
Wenger criticises work permits

A

wful, awful pundit. He was crap on BBC, and offered a little more analysis than Robbie Savage - apart from the delivery of banality in a sexy accent. Also, as I'm Irish he'll never be more then a slimy, hand-balling f**ker in my eyes.

batdog
Football People On TV: Thierry Henry

Footer 365

Sepp Blatter shrugs-off UEFA's challenge to his leadership as 'lacking courage'

Sepp Blatter tells UEFA “they do not have the courage” to sufficiently challenge his leadership at this year's election.

Transfer news: Sam Allardyce unsure whether Darren Fletcher will join West Ham

Manager Sam Allardyce admits he is unsure whether Darren Fletcher will choose to join West Ham or another club.

Transfer news: Wigan close to signings of Chris Herd from Aston Villa and Jason Pearce from Leeds

Wigan are close to signing Aston Villa's Chris Herd on loan and Leeds' Jason Pearce permanently, Sky sources understand.

Mail Box

Appalling, Slow, Pathetic, Embarrassing

It's a bonus Saturday Mailbox, with plenty of reaction to the most alarming 0-0 draw in Manchester United's recent history. At what point do we worry about Louis van Gaal?

Why Do Man United Look So Impotent?

It's all very well talking about formations and United's defensive problems, but shouldn't their expensive attacking options be doing better? And we talk psychology...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company