Rafa Benitez has confirmed he will leave Napoli at the end of the Serie A season in a move that paves the way for him to take up the reins at Real Madrid.
The former Liverpool coach will depart following Sunday’s Serie A climax, which will see him lead Napoli into their final game of the season knowing victory over Lazio will secure a spot in Champions League qualifying.
Napoli released a statement on Wednesday stipulating that Benitez would not answer questions regarding other clubs, meaning he could not confirm whether or not he would succeed Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernabeu next season.
“My time in Naples has ended,” Benitez said on Thursday in a press conference.
“I had a two-year contract with Napoli which ends after the match against Lazio. Then we will start talking about my future from Monday.
“I would like to thank the president, the club and all the fans. On Sunday, we face a very important match and I want to finish my two years here with a victory.
“It’s always sad to leave a job where the people have treated you well from the start and Napoli was like this to me.”
The 55-year-old Madrid-born coach was appointed to the Serie A club in 2013, leading them to the Coppa Italia and a third-placed finish in his first season in charge.
Benitez spent most of his playing career with Real Madrid’s B team before going on to coach at every level of the club, excluding the first team.