Benitez confirms Napoli exit

28 May 2015 08:08:53 EST

Head coach Rafa Benitez has confirmed that he will leave Serie A Napoli at the end of the season, having been strongly linked with the vacant Real Madrid hotseat.

The 55-year-old has been in charge in Naples since May 2013, guiding his side to third place in the Italian top-flight last term, while they also lifted the Coppa Italia.

On Sunday we are facing a very important match and I want to conclude my two years here with a victory.

Rafa Benitez

This season they lie in fourth place with one match to play and still have an outside chance of a place in the play-off round of the Champions League if they defeat third-placed Lazio in the final game of the campaign.

However, even if they do qualify for Europe's top club competition, Benitez says he has decided to move on.

He told reporters: "I would like to thank the president (Aurelio De Laurentiis), the club and all the fans because after two years I'm finishing my experience here with Napoli.

"On Sunday we are facing a very important match and I want to conclude my two years here with a victory.

"It is always sad to leave a job where the people have treated you well from the start and Napoli was like this to me.

"My family was key to me making this choice, Aurelio and Napoli have made every effort and we were close to a renewal."

Benitez, who started his coaching career with the U19 set-up at the Bernabeu, has enjoyed success with Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Chelsea in the past, lifting the Champions League whilst with the Reds.

He has also won La Liga twice, the UEFA Cup, the Europa League, the FA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

And he has emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at the helm at Real, with the men from Madrid having failed to win any silverware this season.

Los Blancos can be backed at 9/1 to win La Liga next season, with current champions Barcelona 1/16 and Atletico Madrid 1212/1.

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