Saturday November 9 2013
'Juventus had Benitez deal'

Rafa Benitez had been close to Juventus before they opted for Gigi Del Neri, revealed ex-President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli.

“I know that Jean-Claude Blanc had contacted Benitez to replace Ciro Ferrara and there had also been the green light from the majority shareholders,” Cobolli Gigli told Radio Crc.

Ferrara was sacked in January 2010, though Del Neri did not arrive from Sampdoria until May. Alberto Zaccheroni was in charge for those interim months and Benitez ended up at Inter instead.

“Then they decided to bring in Del Neri, which proved to be a terrible choice. Now Antonio Conte has arrived and reached very important levels with Juventus.

“Conte and Benitez are different. The Spaniard has more of an international mentality, whereas Conte drilled the ‘never give up’ mentality into the team.

“I couldn’t say which of them I prefer, but as Conte is the Coach of Juventus, I will say Conte.”

The Spaniard steps into the Juventus Stadium tomorrow evening as Coach of Napoli. Click here for a match preview.

“Juventus-Napoli is going to be a confrontation of mentality. Napoli’s has changed for the better, above all thanks to an international-level Coach and a President who is doing a great job, even with a terrible personality, and I say that with affection!

“Juventus recovered after a poor period and I think this will be a great game. Napoli have top strikers and I still regret that we didn’t sign Marek Hamsik from Brescia.

“Napoli were very smart to sell Edinson Cavani and bring home a great champion like Gonzalo Higuain as well as strengthening the rest of the squad. Juve also made good moves, as Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente enter that category.

“A week after I left Juventus, they lost 3-2 to Napoli in Turin. Juve should take the example from that experience, because that Napoli had bite, but this current incarnation probably even more so.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with