Champions League

Benitez wants top Europe club

2013-05-26 15:30
Rafael Benitez (AFP Photo)

London - Rafael Benitez has admitted he wants to manage a team competing in the Champions League next season after bringing his reign as Chelsea interim manager to a close.

Benitez will shortly leave Stamford Bridge having taken charge of the Premier League team for the final time on Saturday when the Blues were beaten by Manchester City in a friendly in New York.

The Spaniard guided Chelsea to the Europa League crown and also helped them qualify for next season's Champions League after being brought in on a short-time basis to replace Roberto Di Matteo in November.

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Benitez is set to make way for the return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and the former Liverpool boss can now focus on his future after being linked with Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain, who can both satisfy the 53-year-old's desire to compete in Europe's elite club competition.

Napoli are the front-runners for Benitez's services, with some reports claiming he has already agreed a two-year contract with the Italian side.

Asked about his plans and a link to Napoli following Chelsea's 5-3 defeat to City, Benitez told Sky Sports News: "I am going to London now.

"I want to be in a top side so that we can play in the Champions League, if that is possible."

Benitez faced hostility from many Chelsea fans when he took over following the sacking of Di Matteo, but he insisted he enjoyed his spell in west London because he was able to deliver success.

"I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed it at the end," he said.

"We won a trophy, (we reached) some semi-finals, a final (and finished in the) top three so I am really pleased because a lot of people at the start, people around players, they were pushing and pushing. I am really pleased for everyone."

Benitez's one regret is he will not be able to continue with the development of Chelsea's rising stars.

"When you have some good players growing and improving you like to stay with them," he added. "I am really pleased because the job is done."

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