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After guiding the Blues to Europa League success and a third-place finish in the Premier League, the Spaniard returns to Italy after a previous stint with Inter in 2010

Chelsea have confirmed that interim manager Rafa Benitez has left the club to take over at Serie A side Napoli.

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The Spaniard, who revealed some time ago he would be leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, replaces Walter Mazzarri, who is leaving the Azzurri to join Benitez’s former club Inter.

Despite many fans’ opposition to Benitez’s appointment, the former Liverpool boss enjoyed a successful tenure in west London, guiding them to third place in the Premier League while also winning the Europa League.

“Chelsea Football Club has today released Rafael Benitez from his contract to become the new manager of Napoli,” a statement on the club’s official website revealed.

“Everybody at Chelsea Football Club would like to place on record our thanks to Rafa and his staff for their work at the club, and wish them success for the future.”

Also leaving Stamford Bridge are fitness coach Paco De Miguel and opposition analyst Xavi Valero, who will team up with Benitez in Italy.

Napoli finished second in Serie A this season, nine points behind champions Juventus, and Benitez’s first order of business is likely to be trying to keep striker Edinson Cavani at the club, with the Uruguay international attracting interest from several top clubs, including Chelsea.

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