Rafa Benitez has shared his thoughts on who he believes is a strong contender to win the UEFA Champions League this season and named one of the teams that he coached previously – but it’s not the team you may think it is.
Benitez has managed a string of high profile clubs in his career including the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Valencia, Newcastle United and, of course, Liverpool.
Of the former clubs that he’s managed, there are four still in with a chance of winning the cup this year.
Speaking to Sid Lowe at The Guardian, Benitez was asked who he sees winning it and replied, “I like Napoli”.
“People talk about Madrid, the usual teams. But Napoli are confident, playing well, strong in the league, so that’s not so much of a distraction, and the further they progress the more they will grow.
“And why not? I’m not saying they will win it, but why not?”.
Napoli winning it would certainly be a dark horse pick, but there is method behind the choice.
Anyone who has been following Serie A this season can attest to how good Napoli look. The likes of Victor Osimhen, who is reportedly being tracked by all the top teams in Europe, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Piotr Zielinski and Min-Jae Kim have been on fire and lead Napoli to an incredible 18 point lead at the top of the table.
If they keep that up, this will be the first time that Napoli have won Serie A since 1990 – when a certain Diego Maradona was pulling up trees for the club.
Napoli have never won the UEFA Champions League but have already put in some stellar performances this season including a 4-1 win against Liverpool in the group stages. Based on what we’ve seen this season, Benitez may be on to something with that pick.