After spending big money on failed signings, regressing by 15 points year-on-year and failing to qualify for the Champions League, Rafael Benítez is leaving Napoli for Real Madrid. This isn’t normally how the whole getting-a-job-promotion-thing works, but it’s happening all the same. After weeks of rumors that gathered momentum as ex-coach Carlo Ancelotti was gathering his belongings from his office, it’s essentially official.
Vice-president Eduardo Fernandez de Blas said this on Saturday night: “I’ll tell you one thing, Carlo Ancelotti is a real phenomenon. We give our thanks to him. Until three days ago, he was, for me, the best coach in the world, just as two years ago it was Jose Mourinho, and as from this week it will be Rafa Benitez.”
Such a phenomenon that you fired him, Eduardo.
In another little hint that it’ll be Benitez announced at a Wednesday press conference, AS reports that Benítez left the hotel next to Napoli’s training ground where he’d been living for the past two years on Monday and flew to Madrid.
This invites the question: why do so many rich and famous people live in hotels long-term? Wouldn’t they rather get a big house or a nice apartment? Don’t the minibar bills get expensive? Isn’t it tedious to have to keep putting the do not disturb label on the door when you want to sleep in?
Even more importantly than this burning accommodation issue, though, it seems that Benítez is going to spend Monday and Tuesday ironing out what will no doubt be a long-term deal that will net him generous compensation payments when he’s fired in 12 months for finishing second in La Liga.
Who’ll replace Benitez in Naples? Probably in-demand Seville boss Unai Emery, fresh off winning the Europa League. But he’s also being courted by promiscuous but hapless coach-seducers West Ham. They also wanted Benitez and Ancelotti, in what amounts to a sort of managerial carousel in which no one actually gets on the ride.