Although my nerd-based mind would probably explode if Rafa Benitez suddenly exclaimed “It’s a trap,” my soccer based mind wishes that he would think twice about the situations that he is being handed. After putting in a decent turn at Chelsea, Benitez quickly moved on to grasp the helm at Serie A starlet Napoli. Where Chelsea was quick to label Benitez as “interim,” Napoli do seem to be offering him the full-coaching gig. However, even without the “interim” title, Benitez still facing an uphill battle at a club that has been punching above their weight for several seasons now.
Rafa’s time at Chelsea was the subject of intense debate among supporters and those outside the club. He seemed to get relatively decent results, and the snagging of a European trophy would be seen as a great season for many of the other large English clubs. But, Benitez stepped into a club that was suffering from a mini-crisis and a club that was fresh off of finally winning Europe’s finest silverware. A floundering strike-force and a large stable of players meant that it took Benitez several months to truly get a grip at Chelsea, but with the ominous actions of the ownership meaning that no array of fantastic results would mean the retention of Benitez’s job, the pressure was ridiculous.
Now, Benitez walks into a Napoli team that may start sending some of their prized-possessions to teams that can match their asking price. Star striker Edinson Cavani has been linked with several major clubs for a few seasons and both player and club can only say no to big money and bigger football for so long. In fact, news of English power-spender Manchester City being in line to swoop for the Uruguayan would be enough for most managers to be tepid in their acceptance of the job. Also, if Cavani leaves, then others may follow as Napoli has always been a few steps away from ever making the jump into major-trophy contention. Although other Napoli players like Hamsik and others on the squad have pledged loyalty to their club, a potentially bleak and sans-Cavani future may see them testing the waters of the transfer market.
Benitez already experienced the terrible set-up that Chelsea had put him through, but he still added another trophy to his work history and he made sure that Chelsea was ripe for the next manager to continue the rebuilding job. But, Serie A has already chewed up the Spanish manager and spit him out, and Napoli may end up being a sinking ship with Benitez being brought in to bear the brunt of fans frustrations should players start to leave and results start to fade. Although would not be placing a call for him to manage my team the next time we need a manager, he should have learned his lesson and he has earned more respect than certain clubs are giving him. Watch out Rafa, “It’s a trap!”