Real Madrid are close to appointing Rafa Benitez their new manager according to the Italian press.
La Gazzetta dello Sport report that Benitez will meet with the Napoli chairman to confirm his departure, though they were coy about his destination.
West Ham had been tipped as a likely landing spot but now all the talk is of Real Madrid. Sky Italia are claiming that Benitez dropped West Ham when officials in Madrid gave him a call.
Rafa Benitez close to Real Madrid according to Italian press
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) May 20, 2015
I leave home this morning with Rafa Benitez linked with West Ham I arrive home tonight where he's linked with Real Madrid #TheWorldIsMad
— Thomas Niblock BBC (@thomasniblock) May 20, 2015
It is claimed by some that Madrid have not ruled out keeping Carlo Ancelotti, an outstandingly humanitarian move from the club, considering he finished runner-up in La Liga and failed to retain the Champions League title.
It's fair to say that the reaction to the notion of Benitez as Madrid boss has been underwhelming.
Benitez has a long association with the club, outlined in detail by Sid Lowe when he travelled to the Bernabeu with Liverpool in 2009. He grew up 100 yards from the stadium and supported the club as a kid.
He played for the clubs reserve team, who competed in the Spanish Third Division, but was forced to retire at the age of 20 and became a coach at the club. He spent the bulk of that time as B coach but did end up working as an assistant to Vincente Del Bosque in 1993-94.
He left the club to become manager of Vallodolid in 1995.