Ranting Rafa Benitez caused Inter Milan chief to snap
Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti admitted he lost patience with Rafael Benitez after the Spaniard demanded money to spend in January, but he remained tight-lipped over the identity of Benitez's successor with former AC Milan boss Leonardo reportedly set for the post.
The Serie A side confirmed yesterday that an agreement had been reached over the termination of Benitez's contract.
“I'm sorry the relationship with Benitez is over, but the split had now become inevitable,” said Moratti.
With Benitez back in Liverpool, his agent Manuel Garcia Quilon met with Inter vice-president Rinaldo Ghelfi and technical director Marco Branca to thrash out a compensation package.
Benitez's future at the San Siro had looked bleak since he appeared to issue an ultimatum after leading Inter to success in the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday.
The Spaniard called for Moratti to back him in the upcoming transfer market after an otherwise poor start to the season, which has left the Nerazzurri well off the pace in the league, or dispense with his services.
The Inter president said: “Maybe I was not very satisfied, regardless of the statements (from Benitez), up to the success in the Club World Cup, but then after the statements of the coach I no longer had any desire or patience to get on with it.
“If he had not made those statements would he have remained? I don't know.”
Brazilian Leonardo, who had two spells at Inter's great rivals Milan as a player and also served as technical director and last season as coach of the Rossoneri, is expected to replace Benitez.
Moratti was giving little away. He said: “All the names that circulate about the next Inter coach are interesting.”
Asked if it would be Leonardo, he told reporters: “We'll see, I will tell you when we decide.”
Asked if former Inter and Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga, currently in charge of Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, was also a candidate, he said: “We'll see.”
Despite his time at the San Siro turning sour so quickly, Benitez does not bear a grudge against his former employers.
“I want to thank everyone for the support received during my experience at Inter,” he said.