Rafa Benítez might have to slim down if he wants another Serie A coaching gig

According to a rumor that absolutely no one paid any attention to, Sampdoria coach Sinisa Mihajlović and Napoli’s Rafa Benítez might trade jobs this summer. Benítez’s contract is set to expire, and the Italian press suspects that Mihajlović could be his replacement. Too lazy to look deeply into the Serie A standings, gossipologists suggest that Benítez could find a soft landing spot with his table neighbors and slide right into Mihajlović gig at Sampdoria.

There’s one problem, though. Someone fairly important in the decision making process of Sampdoria’s managerial future, club president Massimo Ferrero, has thrown the coldest of cold water on the possibility of Rafa joining his club next season. His issue with the former Liverpool boss’ candidacy isn’t because of some doubt over his tactical acumen. Put plainly, Ferrero thinks Rafa is too fat.

“You all say [Mihajlović] is leaving but I know nothing about it, there is no news. If he did go, though, I know who I’d replace him with: not [FC Basel coach] Paulo Sousa, but [comedy actor] Lino Banfi. Or I could take Benítez, but I’d have to take him to a dietician first.”

Zing! No fatties, bro! If Rafa Benítez wants the honor of taking over a club that hasn’t won the league since 1991, or a domestic cup since 1994, he’s going to have to cut the carbs and get down with some CrossFit. Sampdoria has a reputation to maintain.

UC Sampdoria v US Citta di Palermo - Serie A

What would Ferrero’s friends think if they saw him out to a game with a fat coach? How could he explain that? The only time it’s acceptable to have a fat coach is if it’s been a while since the last time you’ve had a coach and just needed top get out of a slump. Or maybe it’s really late in the season, no one else is available. You really want to be coached, and you know that a fat coach won’t turn you down, so you call him up and let him handle your team – temporarily, of course. You never make any promises of commitment to a fat coach, because you know you can do better.


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In Ferrero’s defense, I too once wanted Paulo Sousa (right) to be the new head coach of my team. After Red Bull New York fired Hans Backe in 2012, there were rumors that Sousa was in line to be his replacement. I was excited about the possibilities, not because of anything on Sousa’s resume, but because his suit and overcoat game was on a really high level. Anyone with a serious understanding of soccer and what makes champions understands that coach aesthetics is important to the foundation of establishing a winning atmosphere. Players need someone to look up to and teach them how to properly tie a scarf. These things matter.