Newly appointed Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has aimed a dig at Jose Mourinho while plotting to pry John Obi Mikel and Ramires from Stamford Bridge.
Benitez spoke criticised Mourinho’s tenure at Real Madrid to Spanish sports paper AS saying, “I don’t know what Mourinho does. I know what I do: I always want to win, without crossing the line of sportsmanship. It’s true that I get on better with some coaches than others and I align myself with those that don’t value winning at any cost.
“I joined Madrid’s academy when I was 13 and learned everything there. I received a sporting education from Madrid and I was taught to show respect and dignity towards the opponents whether we won or lost.”
Benitez’s final days at Chelsea were played out under the shadow of Mourinho as the Portuguese openly courted his old club in the media and now the former Liverpool manager hopes to take Nigerian international Mikel and Ramires with him to the San Paolo as he looks to rebuild the side following what is believed to be the imminent departure of Edison Cavani.
Cavani may well be Chelsea bound as reports came from a Naples radio station last night that the clubs had agreed a £49.3million deal for the striker which would give Benitez the funds to inject a number of high quality players into his team.
Mikel has already been linked with a move to Galatasaray so would be the easier of the two deals to complete should the Nigerian wish to play under Benitez again but the prospect of luring the versatile Ramires from London is more difficult.
Mourinho has already told the Brazilian that he is in his plans for the season and any bid to take him from Chelsea would have to be a big one.
“I’m hugely excited about getting down to work with Mourinho. He called me a few days ago out of the blue, which was a surprise to me,” the Brail international who was left out of the Confederations Cup squad to rest said last week.
“We talked a lot and he said a lot of nice things to me, including the fact that he tried to sign me from Benfica when he was at both Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Mourinho told me he was very happy to have me at Chelsea. I was very glad to hear that and told him he can count on me.”