Liverpool are due to play against Manchester United tomorrow in the FA Cup 5th round, and a well-timed story has appeared linking Inter Milan with a swoop to poach Rafael Benitez. Inter are second in the Italian top flight at the moment but are too far behind league leaders Juventus to make a realistic attempt of taking the title. Rafa was the architect of two Liverpool wins over Italian opposition in the Champions League last season. A 2-1 win at home to Juventus was followed by a goalless draw in the away leg, and no Red will ever forget the other win over Italians – the win in Istanbul over Inter’s groundsharing rivals AC Milan.
The Daily Mirror are reporting that Inter chief Massimo Moratti wants to see current coach Roberto Mancini leave the club unless he can match what Rafa did with Liverpool last season and win the Champions League. Inter were knocked out by AC last season, in a tie that ended in trouble as Inter fans through flares at AC Milan players. Italian paper the Corriere dello Sport says Rafa is highly regarded, but so are other coaches such as PSV Eindhoven’s Guus Hiddink and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger. The Mirror are sticking their necks out though that Rafa will be approached before the others, claiming an Inter source has told them this: “Benitez has already proved he is a top manager in Spain and England and Inter believe he can now do the same in Italy. Winning the European Cup against Milan will make him immediately popular with Inter fans. And his achievements with Valencia, where he twice won the title over Real Madrid and Barcelona, prove he has real pedigree.”
Rafa has already been linked with leaving Liverpool in the past, especially whenever Real Madrid lose a game, but the Spaniard has signed a long contract and seems intent on staying at the club for a long time to come. Although nothing’s certain in football, it seems highly unlikely Rafa would even consider leaving Liverpool to go to Inter. If he wanted to leave, even the reported £50million isn’t that likely to tempt him considering he’s made it clear in the past he wouldn’t leave Liverpool to manage his favourite club Real.