Benitez banished

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Benitez banished

European champions Inter Milan sacked coach Rafael Benitez just a few days after he guided them to the World Club Cup title and looks set to be replaced by former AC Milan coach Brazilian Leonardo.

By Afp

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Published: Fri 24 Dec 2010, 10:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:58 AM

The two parties reached a mutual agreement over terminating the Spaniard’s contract ending days of speculation about the former Liverpool manager’s future after he had used the World Club Cup win to launch a bizarre outburst against the club’s board and their lack of support in the transfer market as well as an attack on the players.

Inter, who turned to Benitez when Jose Mourinho left for Real Madrid in the summer, issued a curt statement confirming that the Spaniard’s short reign had been brought to a premature and inglorious end after holding talks with his agent.

“Inter Milan and Rafael Benitez can announce that they have reached a mutually satisfactory agreement for the early termination of his contract.

“Inter thank Rafael Benitez for his work in leading his team to success in the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.”

Benitez, who is spending his now longer than expected Christmas break in Liverpool, bore no rancour in his initial reaction when he spoke to Italian news agency Ansa.

“I would like to thank everybody for the support I received in my spell at Inter,” he said. “I would like to thank both on my own behalf, and on behalf of my coaching staff, the players, the directors and the supporters who always had faith in us.

“The two titles we won (the Italian Super Cup being the other) was as a result of the commitment of all those who stayed at our sides, retaining the fundamental principles of professionalism, education, and respect for the decisions of the club.

“I am sad to leave such a big club and I wish the team all the success in the future. “Finally I would like to thank wholeheartedly the president Massimo Moratti for having chosen me to be coach of Inter.”

Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, had only been in the post since July after leaving Liverpool by mutual consent and had failed to convince the Inter fans that he could repeat the unique success of predecessor Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho, who never enjoyed close relations with Benitez when they coached Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, had secured the domestic double and the Champions League trophy last season.

Benitez had looked to have ensured he would stay in the post with Saturday’s 3-0 World Club Cup final win over Tout Puissant Mazembe in Abu Dhabi — albeit not a title hugely valued — and was warmly embraced by Inter’s president Massimo Moratti.

However, the 50-year-old — who made his name coaching Valencia — used the post match press conference to attack the board saying he deserved respect.

This was the same board who had stood by him even after they barely qualified for the second round of the Champions League, finishing second behind Spurs in their group.

In Serie A, Inter are seventh - 13 points adrift of bitter city rivals AC Milan, though, they have two games in hand.

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