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Was outgoing Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez second choice once again?

After reports in Italy suggest that the former Liverpool and Chelsea gaffer was not Napoli's first choice to take over at the Stadio San Paolo how will the Spaniard take the news?

Rafa Benitez has had a pretty good May. After securing third place in the Premier League ahead of competition from London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur there was also the joy of winning the Europa League for the second time (first as the UEFA Cup with Valencia in 2004).

He even managed to win around the Chelsea fans (well some at least) who so vocally made their feelings clear on his appointment as Interim Manager back in November.

So all in all you can forgive him for having a smile on his face.

Then things got even better for the 53-year-old; in the form of a new job.

From next season Rafa will have another pop at the Italian domestic league as this seasons Serie A runners-up Napoli officially appointed him as their new manager this week.

It comes after their talented gaffer Walter Mazzarri decided to take the position at Benitez’s former club Inter Milan; who finished in a paltry ninth position in Serie A this year.

So for Benitez this must be a wonderful time where he is finally at a club where he is truly wanted and appreciated; unlike his often vitriolic spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Although according to some reports in Italy it appears that he was not exactly the first choice of Napoli’s colourful president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport the role was initially offered to Italian international coach Cesare Prandelli. 

The former Fiorentina supremo has recently expressed a desire to return to club management after the FIFA World Cup in 2014 but it is believed De Laurentiis offered Prandelli the job before he approached Benitez.

The deal, worth €3.5 million-a-year, would have reportedly trebled the annual salary he currently receives for leading out the Azzurri.

However after taking his time to consider the offer he turned it down with Italy in action in this month’s FIFA Confederations Cup Finals in Brazil.

So how will Benitez take the news that once again he does not appear to be the first choice at his new club?

I struggle to think he will care.

He will instead focus on the fact that he has inherited a wonderfully talented collection of footballers at a club with excellent history and prestige.

Plus the fans seem to have taken to him with many well-wishers contacting him on Twitter and he expressed how he was ‘overwhelmed’ by such support recently.

And after the start he had at Chelsea; just having the fans on his side will feel like a rare positive for his new project.

image: © thesportreview

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