Inter Replaces Rafa With Leonardo
Finally this power struggle is over. It was inevitable that the Spaniard was not going to get anything from Massimo Moratti for this January transfer window, and Moratti got fed up with Benitez’s strange demands. It all seemed slightly better when Rafa Benitez had guided his team to the World Club Cup title, but after the final against TP Mazembe, Benitez decided to stoke the fire with some strange comments.
“I deserve respect. I’ve carried all the blame and all the responsibilities, but the club had promised me three players in August. Nobody arrived. Now there are three possible options: or the club has a project and buys four players right away in January, or we go ahead like this with the coach as the only one to blame, or the president talks with my agent and we find another solution.”
Benite continues his rant,
“Last year Moratti had spent 80 million for five players, all starting eleven players, this year with a new coach he has spent zero. I don’t know why, he had projected a market plan which then wasn’t executed, because of the [UEFA] financial fair play or something else. After the summer I was disappointed one-hundred percent.”
And so, Benitez had tried to earn himself some respect and transfer funds with these defiant comments. While it seems like Benitez is right in many ways, he approached solutions in the wrong way. It is true that Moratti spent plenty for Mourinho and didn’t spend anything for him, and it is true that Benitez has been carrying basically all of the blame, but ranting like this won’t get you very far with the president he has.
In a certain way, it seems to me that Moratti almost welcomed the option of firing Rafa. Moratti decided to go for a “softer” coach after Mourinho’s arrogant demanding time, and if Benitez worked, problem solved, if he didn’t Moratti would just bring someone else in. It’s almost as if Benitez was never meant to be a long-term coach, almost just a transition coach who wouldn’t put up much of a fight. Yet Benitez tried to fight, and now he is without a job.
The man who will replace Benitez could be considered another “softie” compared to Jose Mourinho. It’s the youthful Leonardo who had previously managed AC Milan before Massimiliano Allegri had replaced him. While Inter fans may be thinking, “Why would we want an AC Milan reject?” the solution is relatively simple.
At AC Milan, Leonardo was in a similar position that Benitez was with Inter. An aging squad, a president who prefers not to spend money, and a group of slightly divided players. Leonardo did his best with that side, arriving third in the Serie A, 12 points off of the scudetto winners Inter Milan. Now Leonardo has a chance to work with a better team than that AC Milan team at the time, and it seems like Massimo Moratti is lining up some players to bring in this January.
Right now the name which has been circulating is Andrea Ranocchia, the 22 year-old central defender already partially owned by Inter. The deal between Genoa and Inter is being negotiated right now, and it’s almost 100% certain that Leonardo will have a new central defender to work with in 2011.
Along with Ranocchia, some other names have been floating around, even if they look like very unlikely possibilities. Kaka from Real Madrid could have a shock return to the Serie A after his poor spell in Spain, and Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina could join Inter in January as well. You may think that these are ludicrous possibilities, but Moratti could decide to unite new Brazilian with new Brazilian, and create a team which could maybe challenge for the Serie A title.