6 September 2014 10:36
Napoli have rubbished rumours of a rift between Rafael Benitez and Aurelio De Laurentiis, stating their relationship is “excellent”.
Coach Benitez attended UEFA’s elite club coaches forum in Nyon last week before heading for a visit to Liverpool, where he previously managed and his family still live.
Reports had suggested that Benitez’s trip to Merseyside was further proof of his strained relationship with Napoli president De Laurentiis following his side’s UEFA Champions League play-off exit to Athletic Bilbao last week.
However, the Serie A club have scoffed at those suggestions and stated that Benitez will return to Naples on Wednesday, ready to restart training on Thursday when several members of his squad return from international duty.
“[Reports] today in some newspapers that the fact that Benitez has taken a few days off is another sign that the relationship with De Laurentiis’ has ‘cracked’ is not only false but ridiculous,” read a statement on Napoli’s official website.
“The relationship between the coach and the president of Naples is excellent as they themselves have repeatedly stressed.
“As already announced, Rafa Benitez took a few days off, after being in Nyon for the regular meeting between the coaches of the most important teams in Europe, [to be] reunited with his family in Liverpool.
“In addition the team, in the next five days, [will] rest three times. Benitez will return to Naples on Wednesday to resume the coordination of training on Thursday to coincide with the return of many absent national [players], four days before the match with Chievo.”
Napoli, who won last season’s Coppa Italia, started the new Serie A campaign with a last-gasp 2-1 win at Genoa last week and resume their season at home to Chievo on September 14.