Rafael Benitez Will Become New Napoli Coach

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2013

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed Rafael Benitez will become the next head coach of the club, according to Football Italia.

The report states Benitez has been the favorite for weeks. While the deal won't be official until the manager finishes his duties with Chelsea, De Laurentiis said he will then sign him to a two-year deal with the Serie A side.

The club president had this to say (h/t Football Italia):

I've given myself a birthday gift, I've signed Benitez. I'll make it official in the next few days as Benitez needs to end things with Chelsea.

He'll have a two-year contract, no longer. We need to get to know each other first, then we'll see.

Benitez took over on an interim basis at Stamford Bridge after the departure of Roberto Di Matteo. He led Chelsea to the Europa League title and a berth in the Champions League but was not retained on a full-time basis.

Once the deal is finalized, Benitez will take over a club that finished second to Juventus in Serie A. The finish ensured the club will also take part in the Champions League, which should allow the veteran manager to hit the ground running.

His first task will be securing the future of superstar Edinson Cavani. The team's leading goal scorer has been the focus of transfer talks heading into the summer. If Napoli aren't able to keep the striker, Benitez must find a way to replace him.

Aside from that, it's a good fit for both sides. Benitez finds a new club where he can shed the interim tag and start building the squad his way. Napoli gets a coach who has proven he can win and handle the pressure involved with leading a top club.

The competition in Italy is fierce. Benitez will be forced to compete with Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan, his former club, which is coming off a down campaign, among others. His two decades as a manager will probably leave him unfazed by the situation, though.

A deal is expected to be announced within the next couple days, according to the report.