• Premier League

Chelsea thank Benitez as they release him to Napoli

ESPN staff
May 28, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rafa Benitez is off to Napoli © PA Photos
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Chelsea have officially confirmed the departure of interim manager Rafael Benitez, who is to take over as boss of Serie A side Napoli.

Benitez, who led Chelsea to Europa League success, the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the League Cup, plus third place in the Premier League, will replace Walter Mazzari at the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis had announced via Twitter on Monday that Benitez would be the club's new coach after they finished runners-up to Juventus.

Now Chelsea have confirmed Benitez's exit and thanked him for his efforts.

"Chelsea Football Club has today [Tuesday] released Rafael Benitez from his contract to become the new manager of Napoli,'' said a statement on the club's official website.

"Rafa was appointed as the club's interim manager last November, and steered us to automatic Champions League qualification thanks to our third-place finish in the Barclays Premier League, while also leading us to the Europa League title in Amsterdam earlier this month.

"Also departing to join Napoli are first-team fitness coach Paco De Miguel and Xavi Valero, the first-team opposition analyst.

"Everybody at Chelsea Football Club would like to place on record our thanks to Rafa and his staff for their work at the club, and wish them success for the future.''

Jose Mourinho is expected to be announced as Chelsea manager for a second time next month.

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