Spanish tactician hoping for a successful second stint in Serie A.
Having suffered from a difficult tenure at Inter almost three years ago, Rafa Benitez has somewhat of a point to prove in Italy ahead of his first season in charge of Napoli.
The Spaniard brought further silverware to the Nerazzurri after they were crowned the champions of Europe the previous year, yet ultimately promises made prior to his appointment were not kept while he struggled to manage the expectations in the post-Mourinho era at the club.
Regardless of which account is to be believed and followed, the former Liverpool boss has closed that chapter of his career, and insisted that he is purely focused on guiding his new club to success.
His first task will be a difficult one given that the Partenopei have seen prolific striker Edinson Cavani leave for Paris. However, the Uruguayan brought €64m into the club to add to their already burgeoning transfer war-chest, with owner Aurelio De Laurentiis giving Benitez significant financial backing in the market.
The early signs are promising with Benitez embracing the Neapolitan way of life and interacting with supporters through both social media and his official blog on his website, thus drawing comparisons to his relationship and time with Liverpool and the Anfield faithful.
The Spanish tactician has said all the right things in his first few months in Naples, but whether or not he remains as popular both within the club and outside, will largely depend on his ability to get immediate results.
Former coach Walter Mazzarri is largely credited with returning the club to their former glories, but his departure coupled with big names leaving means that this is a vital year of transition.
Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol have already arrived to give an additional Spanish flavour to this new Napoli, while further reinforcements are guaranteed to attempt to replace the goals of Cavani.
Benitez will place a great deal of faith in local favourite Lorenzo Insigne, as he looks to add his European pedigree to a side which finished second in Serie A last season and are expected to be Juventus’ biggest rivals again in the new campaign.
There is undoubtedly an air of expectancy surrounding Benitez, and given the way he has settled so far he will hope for a lengthy and prosperous stay in the south of Italy. However, the Spaniard is set for his biggest test yet, and that will be to prove that his time at Inter was just an anomaly in an otherwise successful managerial career.