With the Gunners set to host the Serie A outfit tonight, the Spaniard returns to his former country of residence. But do his achievements outweigh the Frenchman's legacy?Rafa Benitez returns to England with in-form Napoli for Tuesday's Champions League match against Arsenal at the Emirates, and is excited by the prospect of facing Arsene Wenger once more.
The Gunners are the current Premier League leaders but are yet to win a trophy following an eight-year barren spell. Despite his legacy, Wenger has often been criticised for failing to build a team capable of challenging for European and domestic honours, but record signing Mesut Ozil has proved his intent to win some silverware this season.
Benitez established his reputation in Spain where he guided Valencia to two La Liga titles ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, while he also won the UEFA Cup with the Spanish side. When Liverpool sought his services, he rewarded them with the Champions League in 2005, before guiding Chelsea to Europa League success last term.
Wenger, on the other hand, has never won the Champions League, but came close in 2006 when Arsenal were beaten by Barcelona in the final. The Frenchman’s legacy has been built over the last two decades on league titles and FA Cups, however, the last came in 2005.
Wenger’s finest achievement is unarguably the ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04, where Arsenal went the entire Premier League campaign undefeated. Overseeing the move from Highbury to the Emirates placed a financial burden on the club, but Wenger’s team have consistently qualified for the Champions League, going 16 years without failure.
But under Benitez’s coaching, Napoli are a dangerous side spearheaded by Gonzalo Higuain, who signed for £33 million from Real Madrid this summer, and are yet to be beaten this season in Serie A.
Both managers have earned a world-class reputation and won many trophies but it remains to be seen if either can guide their sides through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Have Your Say
Who do you think is the better coach? Do the achievements of Rafa Benitez outweigh Arsene Wenger’s legacy at Arsenal?