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Friday 24 March 2017

Moratti: Benitez exit was 'inevitable'

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti admitted Rafael Benitez's departure as coach had become inevitable.

The Serie A side confirmed today an agreement had been reached over the termination of the Spaniard's contract.

Talks had been ongoing between the former Liverpool coach's agent and the Inter hierarchy to find a resolution.

"I'm sorry the relationship with Benitez is over, but the split had now become inevitable," ANSA quoted Moratti as saying.

Benitez's future at the San Siro had looked bleak since he appeared to issue an ultimatum after leading Inter to success in the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday.

Benitez called for Moratti to back him in the upcoming transfer market after an otherwise poor start to the season or dispense with his services.

And a statement on the club's official website, www.inter.it, this afternoon read: "Inter Milan and Rafael Benitez can announce that they have reached a mutually satisfactory agreement for the early termination of his contract.

"Inter thank Rafael Benitez for his work in leading his team to success in the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup."

Despite his time at the San Siro turning sour so quickly, Benitez does not bear a grudge against his former employers.

"I want to thank everyone for the support received during my experience at Inter," ANSA quoted Benitez as saying.

"I want to thank personally and on behalf of my staff, players, employees of the club and fans who have placed their trust in us.

"The two titles we won were the result of the commitment of all those who have been on our side, maintaining the basic principles of professionalism, education, respect and dedication to the club.

"Regardless of the sadness that is natural when you leave a big club like Inter, we take with us the joy of the memories of the fans who welcomed us after winning the Club World Cup.

"I would also like to greet the players, staff and employees who, because of the holiday period, I can personally greet in the coming days. I wish all of them, as well as the club and the fans, the greatest sporting success for the future.

"Finally, it is incumbent on my part to thank president Massimo Moratti for choosing me as coach."

Benitez's agent Manuel Garcia Quilon met yesterday with Inter vice-president Rinaldo Ghelfi and technical director Marco Branca, as well as the club lawyer Angelo Capellini.

With the Spaniard back in Liverpool, speculation had been rife for the last 48 hours that he had been dismissed as Inter coach, although the club continued to deny the story until they could agree a compensation package with Benitez.

The five-time reigning Serie A champions sit seventh in the 2010-11 table while they only qualified second in their Champions League group behind competition debutants Tottenham.

Inter's season has been undermined by injuries, but with a 13-point gap to make up to leaders and city rivals AC Milan Benitez came under intense fire just six months into the job.

Benitez always had a tough task in succeeding Jose Mourinho, who led Inter to the Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League titles last season before leaving for Real Madrid in the summer.

Injuries to key personnel like Wesley Sneijder have not helped his cause, but the Nerazzurri have won just six of their 15 league games this term.



They lie closer to the relegation zone than the top of the standings.



Former Milan boss Leonardo is reportedly set to be appointed as Benitez's replacement.



On a successor Moratti said: "All the names that circulate about the next Inter coach are interesting."

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