Former Inter and Napoli manager Rafael ‘Rafa’ Benitez has reminisced about his spells in charge of both clubs ahead of tonight’s Serie A meeting between the two sides at San Siro.
“My spells with these clubs were different from each other, however, they professionally and humanly enriched me, leaving me with friends everywhere,” the current boss of Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro, told Corriere dello Sport, which appeared in today’s print edition of the Rome based news outlet.
“At Inter there were the veterans of the treble winning team but I was not allowed to extend that adventure despite having won the Italian Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
“In my two year period in Naples, on the other hand, we were able to attract the attention of players with quality and depth. With Juventus, hard to deal with in the league, we were able to win the Italian Cup and Super Cup in Doha.
“De Laurentiis must be recognised as his economic efforts served to make a decisive leap towards the internationalisation of the club.”
He was then asked which of the two clubs competing in tonight’s match will feel the most pressure: “For their history, certainly Inter, who would like to win this season in which Juve give the impression, but it is only an impression, that they have relaxed. The pressure is on the Nerazzurri.”
Next the Spaniard stated who he thinks could be man of the match for either side in the encounter at San Siro, which is scheduled to kick off at 20:45 local time tonight.
“Insigne or Mertens for Napoli. Lukaku for Inter. Conte also has Lautaro, who is dangerous, and Eriksen, who in the Premier League, was a systematic reference in the Tottenham attack.”
The former Liverpool manager, who has been in China since 2019, then revealed who he would rather see win the match: “I won in both cities, I have ties on both sides, but I spent more time in Naples, I think I have had more influence, at every level, on the development of ideas in the club. So let’s say, I wouldn’t mind if Napoli wins.”
In conclusion the 60-year-old shared who he thinks will win the Serie A title at the end of this season.
“AC Milan have many merits, Sassuolo and Roma are doing well too. I don’t have the truth, but I imagine that in the end it becomes a challenge between Inter, Juve and Napoli.
“Covid has changed things, it reduced and almost cancelled pre-season. The values of teams will emerge at a distance and Juve, who opted for a rookie coach, therefore without experience on the bench, will come out. Pirlo knows football and will do well in a club that will patiently help him to succeed.”