Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Benitez poised to become Inter coach

Inter President Massimo Moratti has confirmed Rafael Benitez has agreed a deal to become the club's new coach.

Moratti revealed negotiations with Benitez had not taken place in person and said the Spaniard was due to arrive in Milan this week ahead of finalising his move to the Italian and European champions.

He revealed an announcement would be made shortly to confirm when Benitez would be officially unveiled as Jose Mourinho's successor at San Siro.

"We have agreed the final details, which were not important things," Moratti said in a statement on the official Inter website. "All that is needed now is a counter-signature.

"Tomorrow we will tell you when he will be presented."

Benitez, who speaks fluent Italian after studying coaching in Italy, has been in talks with the Nerazzurri since his six-year spell as Liverpool coach was ended by mutual consent last week, despite having another four years to run on his contract.

He has some big shoes to fill having replaced Mourinho, who joined Real Madrid after leading the Nerazzurri to the historic Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League treble last season.

Moratti revealed on Monday that a deal with Benitez had been "more or less done" and had been confident the details would be finalised today.

Reports in Italy had suggested Benitez would sign a three-year deal worth five million euros per season, but Moratti dismissed those claims as "off track" in terms of "duration and the amount".

Moratti was disappointed to see Mourinho leave so soon after his side's 2-0 Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich, but is convinced he has found the right successor.

"I can only say good things about him because he is a great coach," he said. "After all he defeated Mourinho five times in the past."

Benitez first endeared himself to Inter fans after masterminding Liverpool's shock 2005 Champions League final comeback victory over the Nerazzurri's city rivals AC Milan in his first season in charge at Anfield.

That proved to be the high point of his reign, although he did take Liverpool back to the European Cup final in 2007 only for the Rossoneri to get their revenge in Athens.

Under Benitez, Liverpool also won the English FA Cup in 2006, but the Spaniard was unable to deliver the Premier League title, coming closest in 2009 when his side finished runners-up behind Manchester United.

They fell well short of that mark this season, however, ending up seventh in the Premier League and exiting the Champions League at the end of the group stage.

Prior to joining Liverpool, Benitez guided Extremadura and Tenerife to historic promotions to Spain's Primera Liga before twice leading Valencia to the league titles, in 2002 and 2004, winning the UEFA Cup in that final season at the Mestalla as well.

The 50-year-old had previously been linked with the Real Madrid job and towards the end of last season, was also strongly linked with a move to Inter's fierce rivals Juventus.

Source: Sporting Life

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