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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 14 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 26, 2010

Italian Serie A: Benitez not worried by Mourinho jibes

Rafael Benitez has dismissed the latest jibe from predecessor Jose Mourinho as he attempts to maintain Inter's domestic dominance when Serie A resumes this weekend.

Mourinho led Inter to the Serie A title last season - the fifth year in a row they have clinched the Scudetto - and followed that up by also clinching the Champions League and Coppa Italia crowns.

Mourinho has since moved on to Real Madrid but this week claimed Benitez's job would be easy because of the team he had inherited.

The Spaniard responded by laughing off the Portuguese's comments and questioning why Mourinho chose to leave the San Siro.

"First of all I'm surprised that Mourinho has spoken because normally he doesn't speak - he talks about nothing," Benitez said sarcastically. "He's not here anymore but if everything was so perfect then why did he leave? Why did he choose to join another team? That was his decision.

"It's clear to everyone that this is a good team and it was too when he arrived at Inter. I'm very happy and don't like talking about these things. I think he speaks from outside, but it's better for us to concentrate on the work we must do for Inter."

Benitez has already contributed to putting one trophy in the Inter cabinet after his side beat Roma 3-1 in the Supercoppa last Saturday.

Their participation in Friday night's UEFA Super Cup against Atletico Madrid means they don't open their Serie A programme until they face Bologna on Monday.

Roma, the team expected to present the biggest challenge to the Nerazzurri, host newly-promoted Cesena on Saturday.

The Giallorossi have endured a turbulent season off the pitch with owners the Sensi family having to hand over 49% of the club to creditors.

Despite the lack of funds available to coach Claudio Ranieri he has managed to strengthen the forward line with Brazil international Adriano returning for another spell in Italy. The former Inter striker will miss the first month of the season, however, after tearing a thigh muscle in training.

AC Milan begin their campaign by hosting Lecce at the San Siro. Signings have been few and far between for Milan, now under new coach Massimiliano Allegri, with experienced central defender Mario Yepes and on-loan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng the only notable arrivals.

A repeat of last season's third-place finish looks a long shot unless they can do some wheeling and dealing before Tuesday's transfer deadline although a move for Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains a possibility.

Juventus have been more active over the summer and the captures of highly-rated Milos Krasic and on-loan Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani point to better times ahead for the Bianconeri. They open with a long trip south to Bari.

Sampdoria will hope to put the disappointment of their Champions League play-off defeat by Werder Bremen in midweek behind them when they host Lazio while Fiorentina and Napoli meet in arguably the pick of the first-round fixtures.

Elsewhere, Udinese host Genoa on Saturday while on Sunday Chievo meet Catania, Palermo take on Cagliari and Brescia go to Parma.

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