By Kevin Koczwara
Oh, Rafa Benitez, you wily, old man. You’ve worn out your welcome at the San Siro with Inter Milan already. It didn’t take long. Massimo Moaratti will be pleased to rid his hair of the negative Benitez before his players become disenchanted like Yossi Benayoun and Albert Reira did at Liverpool, among others. It took just six months.
It took a lot longer for the former Valencia boss to do the same at Liverpool – demanding transfer funds and saying he has no support from his bosses. Eventually, the board there had enough of the managers antics,and Benitez found himself unemployed. Now, speaking out again about transfer money and poor league form cost Rafa another job, his second in less than a year.
Inter Milan needed a new manager when Jose Mourinho bolted for Real Madrid after securing an unprecedented treble and winning the club’s first UEFA Champions League trophy since 1964. Benitez made improvements at Liverpool during his time there one – cannot forget he did lead the team to glory in the 2005 Champions League.
During his time with Liverpool, Benitez struggled to find funding in the transfer market and spoke out about it, but that was no big deal because he was trying to make a winning squad with very little money. Finally, the board had heard enough grumbling and bumbling from Benitez after a seventh place finish in the 2009/10 season. If you want to complain as much as Rafa did, then you better prove your worth the gruff. He didn’t that year.
Big, bad Benitez will now be leaving his post as manager again this year. Inter Milan has slipped into a dismal seventh place in the Serie A and Rafa wants money to spend in the transfer market. His team isn’t performing to the standards it has in the last few years and he keeps blaming the lack of transfer funds on his inability to run the squad. It sounds just like last Benitez’s last season at Liverpool.
Rafa told Sky Sports after his side took home the Club World Cup on December 18, he wants the backing of the board to make some moves during the January transfer window or he will assume he has no backing and will look for a way out of the San Siro.
His threats were welcomed by Moratti, though. With Inter Milan slogging along right now and its rivals AC Milan back on top after some blockbuster summer moves, Moratti took the opportunity to terminate the Spainard’s contract. And can you blame him? Benitez’s been nothing but a pain for the Italian champs since his arrival and the team isn’t playing up to par. It was a short spell for Rafa, and if Inter Milan wanted to make an assault on the Serie A title again this year, things needed to change.
AC Milan Put Distance Between Itself and Inter
With all of AC Milan’s moves to bolster its attack this summer, and now with the addition of former Sampdoria striker Antonio Cassano, Inter Milan better be looking to push hard the second half of the season if it is going to muster up any type of chase for the Serie A crown. Benitez wasn’t the man for that type of season. He isn’t great at chasing a game, nevermind a league. He grumbles too much, and fights with his players too often for the team to overcome most leads.
For AC Milan, the signing of Cassano shows the club’s ambition to be the best and most exciting team in Serie A. There isn’t another team with the attacking players Milan posses in Italy. Even if Ronaldhino finds his way somewhere else this January, which surely must happen because he may not even find a spot on the bench for Milan, the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Pato, Robinho, Clarence Seedorf and now Cassano all wait ahead of the former World Player of the Year on the bench.
The Rossoneri hold a three point lead over Lazio and Napoli in the Serie A table while Juventus waits only six points back. The addition of Cassano from Sampdoria has to be a welcomed addition by fans and the team despite his long track record of locker room disturbances because he gives Milan another proven player to throw into the mix.
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at Kevin.Koczwara@thesoccerguysonline.com.