Rafa Benitez has officially left his managerial position at Napoli, increasing the speculation that he will take over the vacancy at Real Madrid, following the sacking of previous manager Carlo Ancelotti. Benitez is a former Real youth coach, and has stated that a major reason for leaving Napoli was that he spent too much time away from his home and family. While in charge of Napoli, Benitez lead the club to an Italian Cup victory over current title holders Juventus, and looks to secure a second consecutive Champions League spot for the club before moving on. Benitez made sure to thank the club and players for treating him well during his tenure.
Though Benitez’s name has been heralded as the front-runner for the Real job, his potential appointment has not been met with cheers from the Madrid faithful. In fact, Benitez is seen as a downgrade from Ancelotti, suggesting that the Real fan base wished that the Italian had stayed on for another season. It is well known that a Real manager will not stay on for another season should he fail to bring in any meaningful silverware during the campaign. Even Ancelotti, who won the fabled Decima for Real, and had the support of the fans and the players, was ousted quickly once it became clear that no trophy would come to Madrid. James Dondero knows that should Benitez take the job, the pressure will be on.