Benitez edges closer to Madrid after confirming Napoli departure

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Rafa Benitez has confirmed he will leave Napoli after Sunday’s final Serie A match of the season against Lazio.

The Spaniard held a press conference alongside his club president Aurelio De Laurentiis on Thursday morning and said that his two-year “cycle” at the Italian club was at an end.

The news edges him closer to becoming the new coach of Madrid, with the club expected to announce the former Liverpool coach as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor next week.

“I want to thank the chairman, club and fans because after two years my experience here in Napoli is coming to an end,” said Benitez.

“On Sunday, we have a very important match and I want to finish my two years with a victory.”

Benitez did not talk about his future but did mention that he wanted to be closer to his family, many of whom are based in his home city of Madrid.

Madrid-born Benitez has been the favourite to replace Ancelotti from the start and reports in Spain suggest Florentino Perez will unveil the former Real Madrid B player and coach as the new man at the helm next Wednesday at 13:00 CEST.

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