Benitez excited by Napoli challenge

Napoli have confirmed the appointment of Rafael Benitez as their new coach following his departure from Chelsea.

Last Updated: 28/05/13 at 06:15 Post Comment

Rafael Benitez: New manager of Napoli

Rafael Benitez: New manager of Napoli

Rafael Benitez paid tribute to the Napoli fans after he was confirmed as the club's new manager.

The former Chelsea interim boss signed a two-year deal and will replace Walter Mazzarri, who has moved to Inter Milan.

Benitez led the Blues to third place in the Barclays Premier League and won the Europa League after he was appointed manager in November, following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.

Despite his success, the Spaniard struggled to win over a section of the Chelsea supporters during his time in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Benitez is hopeful of a better relationship with the Napoli fans and is confident of bringing further success to a side who were second last season - their best finish in Serie A since winning the Scudetto in 1990.

"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."

Benitez also confirmed that fitness coach Francisco de Miguel Moreno and goalkeeping coach Vicente Javier Valero Berchili, who were both part of his backroom team at Liverpool, Inter Milan and Chelsea will join him once again.

Benitez will begin his new job in July and Napoli were delighted with their acquisition.

"Rafa Benitez is the new coach of Napoli," read a statement on www.sscnapoli.it.

"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."

The news was first broken by club president Aurelio de Laurentiis, who announced the signing on his verified Twitter feed.

De Laurentiis posted a picture of himself shaking hands with Benitez, and wrote: "Rafa Benitez is the new coach of Napoli. A great man with international experience. A leader."

The appointment ends the mounting speculation over the 53-year-old's future after he was linked with the vacancies at Real Madrid and Stoke.

Rafael Benitez factfile:

1960: Born Madrid, April 4.

1981: Leaves Real Madrid after seven years without ever playing for the first team and joins third division Parla.

1983: Part of the Parla side which gains promotion to Segunda B.

1986: After retiring as a player, appointed to Real Madrid's coaching staff, starting off with the juniors and working up to the Under-19s.

1994: Leads Real Madrid's B team to seventh in Spain's Segunda Division and ends the season as assistant to first-team coach Vicente del Bosque.

1995: Appointed coach of Valladolid but sacked after 23 games with the team bottom of the Primera Division.

1996: Takes over at Osasuna in second division, but lasts just nine games after recording one win.

1997: Joins Segunda Division outfit Extremadura and leads them to promotion.

1999: Extremadura relegated from top flight after play-off defeat to Villarreal.

1999-2000: Quits Extremadura to take a year's sabbatical to study coaching in Italy and England.

2000: Appointed boss of Segunda Division Tenerife and leads them to promotion.

2001: Replaces Hector Cuper at Valencia and leads the club to their first Spanish league title in 31 years.

2004: Leads Valencia to their first ever double, lifting the league title and the UEFA Cup.

June 1 - Valencia announce that Benitez and the club have agreed to part by mutual consent.

June 16 - Confirmed as Liverpool manager on five-year contract.

2005: May - Wins Champions League in his first season as Liverpool come from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 before beating AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul.

2007: February - American duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett buy the club from David Moores.

May - Benitez's side reach the Champions League final for the second time in three seasons but lose to AC Milan in Athens.

2008: Relations between Benitez and the Anfield hierarchy sour suddenly with doubts over the Spaniard's long-term future.

2009: March 18 - Benitez signs a new contract after months of uncertainty, keeping him at Anfield until 2014. Liverpool finish second to Manchester United in the Premier League.

2010: April 29 - After previous early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup, Liverpool are knocked out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage by Atletico Madrid.

May 9 - A goalless draw on the final day at relegated Hull confirms Liverpool finish the Barclays Premier League season in seventh - their worst position since 1999.

June 3 - Benitez leaves his job as Liverpool manager by mutual consent.

June 8 - Inter Milan confirm an agreement has been reached for Benitez to become their new head coach.

June 10 - Benitez is confirmed as head coach of Inter on a two-year deal, succeeding Jose Mourinho at the San Siro.

August 21 - Leads Inter to Italian Supercoppa triumph with 3-1 win over Roma at San Siro.

August 27 - Inter beaten 2-0 by Atletico Madrid in European Super Cup final in Monaco.

December 18 - Leads Inter to FIFA Club World Cup glory with 3-0 win over Congolese side Mazembe in Abu Dhabi final. Immediately then calls on club to back him in the transfer market in January or sack him.

December 23 - Inter announce Benitez's dismissal after agreeing the financial terms of his departure.

2012: November 21 - Benitez appointed Chelsea's interim first-team manager until the end of the season, replacing Roberto Di Matteo.

2013: February 27 - Confirms after the FA Cup win at Middlesbrough he will leave at the end of the season, saying the fans are not helping the team by protesting against him and the club made a mistake by calling him an 'interim' manager.

May 15 - Wins the Europa League as Chelsea beat Benfica 2-1 in the final in Amsterdam thanks to an injury-time goal from Branislav Ivanovic.

May 19 - Leads Chelsea to third-place finish in the Premier League.

May 27 - After several days of speculation, confirmed as new coach of Serie A side Napoli.


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