Napoli deny Benitez announcement


Published: Wednesday 27th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Napoli insist a hastily-scheduled press conference has not been organised to confirm the departure of head coach Rafael Benitez for Real Madrid.

The Serie A club have called an unexpected briefing with club president Aurelio De Laurentiis and head coach Benitez for Thursday afternoon, amid growing speculation the Spaniard could replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real.

Reports linking Benitez with the Bernabeu vacancy have since strengthened, but Napoli have now stressed that no questions concerning his future will be accepted at the midday briefing.

A statement published on read: “The club wishes to state that tomorrow’s press conference concerns only footballing matters related to Napoli and not the future of Benitez.

“Therefore, no questions pertaining to the future of the Azzurri coach will be accepted.”

Napoli, who are targeting a third-placed finish and Champions League football with victory over Lazio on the last day of the season, have operated under a media silence for almost two months.

On Tuesday, former Liverpool boss Benitez was described as being “99 per cent” certain to be the next Real coach.

Ancelotti’s representative Ernesto Bronzetti fully expects the 55-year-old, who started his managerial career with Real’s reserve side, to become the club’s 13th coach since 2003.

FIFA ‘super agent’ Bronzetti told Italian television channel Rai Sport: “Benitez is 99 per cent sure to go to Real.”

Ancelotti’s departure had been anticipated since Real were knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals by Juventus earlier this month.

The former Chelsea and Paris St Germain boss won the Champions League and Copa del Rey in his first season in charge at the Bernabeu and also helped Real lift the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2014.

However, Real could not add any more trophies this year as they finished second to Barcelona in La Liga as well as being knocked out of Europe and the Copa del Rey.

Before his dismissal, Ancelotti, 55, said he was going to have a back operation and would take a year-long sabbatical if Real decided to part company with him.

Bronzetti reiterated that on Monday night, saying: “As of right now, Ancelotti wants to take a year’s break. That’s his intention.

“At Real Madrid you can be sacked if you don’t win any trophies in a season.”

Aside from Benitez, the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Michel and Unai Emery have been linked with the Real post.

The Madrid-born boss has previously spoken of his wish to manage Los Blancos, calling the club his “sweetheart” while he was in interim charge of Chelsea in 2013.

Real president Florentino Perez said in a press conference on Monday night to announce Ancelotti’s departure: “Next week, we will know the name of the new manager of Real Madrid.

“With our great team, talent and hard work, we will be able to give satisfaction and happiness to our fans and our members.

“I want to publicly say thank you to Carlo Ancelotti for these two years, for his hard work and all his affection, and tell him this is still his house and his home.”

Published: Wednesday 27th May 2015 by The News Editor

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