Inter Milan owner Massimo Moratti’s decision to announce the impending appointment of Rafa Benitez as his club’s next manager was greeted with little surprise yesterday. It has been the worst kept secret in Italy over the past few days following the Jose Mourinho’s decision to join Real Madrid.
Benitez’s decision to follow in the footsteps of one of his most hated rivals is still a surprising one. His six year stint at Liverpool came to a sudden end last week with the club’s American owners agreeing to terminate his contract early and take the hit of a having to pay out over 3 millions the Spaniard.
The fact Mourinho delivered an unprecedented treble last season culminating in the Holy Grail of the Champions League means Benitez is already on a hiding to nothing. He will not deliver another treble so comparisons to former manager Mourinho will intensify, especially if Inter don’t win a trophy.
Benitez’s decision to snap-up the Inter Milan job looks to have been taken just so he could get the hell out of Anfield as quickly as possible. It will be a huge task to deliver success for the second straight season at the San Siro where the Mourinho’s shadow will always linger.
Verdict: Strange decision by Benitez but he possesses a squad more than capable of delivering yet another Scudetto. The question is will that be enough?
Neil Lennonto Celtic
Neil Lennon looks set to be announced as the new manager of Celtic today having taken the reigns before the conclusion of a hugely disappointing 09-10 campaign. Under previous incumbent Tony Mowbray Celtic were listless, rudderless and other \’less’ you can think of during a season bitter rivals Rangers enjoyed league and cup success under Walter Smith.
Mowbray simply had to go and with no other viable managerial option available to them the Celtic board promoted their former midfield stalwart Lennon to the number one job at the club.
Cynics will point to the fact Celtic’s board may be \’penny-pinching’ in their appointment of the cheaper option in Lennon – who still lacks the managerial experience for such a big club – whilst the likes of Roy Hodgson, Stuart Baxter of even Marcello Lippi would have cost a lot more to appoint.
Yet the Ross County debacle aside, Lennon has grasped his opportunity with aplomb. His straight talking in after-match interviews, his surprisingly calm demeanour and his obvious disgust at certain players’ inability to perform in the Celtic jersey shows he really wants the job and cares deeply about the club.
Verdict: It’s a perfect match for Celtic and Neil Lennon provided he delivers a trophy and qualifies for next season’s Champions League Group stage.