De Laurentiis: I'll get Benitez a good contract for Real Madrid!
The Spanish coach is set to take charge at the Santiago Bernabeu and the film producer has jokingly offered to represent him
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has jokingly offered to negotiate with Real Madrid on Rafael Benitez’s behalf.
Benitez announced on Thursday that he will be standing down as Partenopei boss after the final round of the Serie A season on Sunday, and the Spaniard is expected to replace the sacked Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernabeu.
De Laurentiis refused to confirm that Benitez is bound for Madrid but he did offer to represent his outgoing coach in any potential contract talks.
“Would I recommend Benitez to Florentino Perez? I would recommend him to every club president but Perez doesn’t need my advice,” the Napoli supremo told reporters at a press conference.
“But if Rafa does join Madrid, it will be a confirmation that my choice of coach two years ago was the right one.
“I hope Florentino gives Rafa a good contract. I could help Rafa with that if he wants! It would be a good contract for sure!”
De Laurentiis had hoped to persuade Benitez, who led Napoli to Coppa Italia glory last year before lifting the Supercoppa Italiana this season, to spend another season at the San Paolo.
However, the film producer insisted that he is not in the least bit upset by the 55-year-old’s decision to depart.
“I thank Rafa Benitez for his work over the past two years,” De Laurentiis added. “He won me over immediately in London two years ago and he has since vindicated that positive impression.
“I had already understood that this would be his final season with us because he had wanted to be closer to his family.
“His contract was for two years with the option of a third but he gave me a reason for this so I wish him good luck.
“Two years ago we were 46th in the Uefa club rankings but now we’re 20th, ahead of many big teams.
“In the last two years we have been the only Italian team other than Juve to have won titles, lifting two trophies thanks to Rafa.
“Next season we will be the only Italian team to have competed in Uefa competition for the sixth successive year.
“We are strong, healthy and in good shape. I’m very happy to have had Rafa. He has grown the culture of this club.”