Benitez backs Ancelotti for Real Madrid
Napoli manager Rafa Benitez has backed Carlo Ancelotti to succeed Jose Mourinho as Real Madrid boss, suggesting the Italian will have better control of the dressing room than his predecessor.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper AS, Benitez, who coached Liverpool against Ancelotti's AC Milan in the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals, urged Real to appoint the former PSG manager.
"I know him well from Milan because of the finals in Athens and Istanbul and we had a very good relationship when we were both in the Premier League," Benitez said. "I think it's the correct choice because he will a conciliator in the dressing room and inside the club. I think the club will appreciate that change."
Benitez also spoke of the important role Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis played in luring him to the Serie A and revealed why he once turned down an offer to join Real.
"When Madrid did call me several years ago, I was already committed to Liverpool; since then, they haven't called me," he added. "You need to ask Florentino and his advisors how their selection process works.
"I have achieved enough and won sufficient trophies over the years for others to get an idea of my capabilities as a coach. I am not going to turn around and tell you that I would like to coach Madrid when I have only just signed for Napoli. That would be a lack of respect to a fantastic club and I cannot do that.
"I'm here because the president, Aurelio de Laurentiis, flew out to London to meet me. He made a great effort and that showed me that he must be serious about bringing me in to be the head of the club's project.
"This is the man who took over the club when it was in the Third Division and look where he has taken them... So we spoke about things, he told me what he wants and I explained a little about my working methods. We are thinking along the same lines. He has put Napoli at my disposal."
The Spaniard also targeted a jibe towards Mourinho, claiming his replacement at Chelsea has "crossed the lines" of sportsmanship in the past.
"I don't know what Mourinho does. I know what I do: I always want to win, without crossing the line of sportsmanship," Benitez said. "It's true that I get on better with some coaches than others and I align myself with those that don't value winning at any cost."