Rafael Benitez’s supposed imminent departure from Napoli to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid new manager is premature, according to the Italian club.
A statement on the Azzurri website intended to quash the growing noise surrounding the Spaniard’s future as Napoli boss.
Benitez is the front-runner for the top job at Los Blancos following the sacking of Italian Ancelotti on Monday.
The Serie A club called a briefing with club president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Benitez for Thursday afternoon amid mounting speculation that Benitez would leave for the Bernabeu.
"The club wishes to state that tomorrow’s press conference concerns only footballing matters related to Napoli and not the future of Benitez"
But in preparation for that, Napoli officials clarified their stance.
The statement read: “The club wishes to state that tomorrow’s press conference concerns only footballing matters related to Napoli and not the future of Benitez. Therefore, no questions pertaining to the future of the Azzurri coach will be accepted.”
DELAYING THE OBVIOUS?
Napoli sit in fourth place in Serie A, three points behind third-placed Lazio, who they play in their final game this Sunday.
Overhauling the Stadio Olimpico side is unlikely with an inferior goal difference of 13 meaning a Champions League finish is almost impossible for Benitez and Napoli.
After losing out on a Europa League final appearance to FC Dnipro, Benitez’s position as boss is fragile anyway.
Ancelotti’s representatives described the former Liverpool manager as “99% certain” to be the next Real coach, so the latest from inside Napoli could be delaying the obvious until after the season is finished.
Disappointment in crashing out of the Europa League in the semi-finals and failure to get Champions League football mean Benitez's departure remains likely.