MILAN - Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez
was surprised on Monday to learn of media reports the Italian
club were poised to sack him after his outbursts over signings.
"I still feel like the Inter coach, I haven't been sacked,"
the Spaniard told Spanish radio station Onda Cero, according to
Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport said Benitez, only in the role
for six months, was being removed and that Zenit St. Petersburg
coach Luciano Spalletti was favourite to take over at
the world club, European and Italian champions.
Inter owner Massimo Moratti had labelled comments by Benitez
after their World Club Cup win on Saturday as "inappropriate".
He refused to comment on the reports on Monday.
"I am surprised at the rumours circulating in these hours.
Of course, I am not happy at all with the situation," Benitez
said, adding that he would return to Italy after spending a
holiday break in Liverpool.
"I want to stay and to continue to win here. But I don't
know what is going to happen. It's the President who has to make
a decision and set the direction."
Benitez told a stunned news conference in Abu Dhabi that
Inter had to make signings or he would speak to his agent about
"Injuries have caused us problems and now we have to take
advantage of the January market, the only chance to buy
players," he said on Monday.
"I have found a very competitive group, but it is difficult
to always keep the tension so high."
Inter's fifth trophy this year had appeared to have secured
the Spaniard's job after a sticky domestic spell but with Inter
not playing again until Serie A resumes on January 6, Moratti has
time to make a decision.
"I prefer not to talk today to avoid the risk of creating
controversies," Moratti told reporters.
Former Liverpool coach Benitez only took over in June after
treble-winning Jose Mourinho left to join Real Madrid.
Benitez asked for new players for the start of the campaign
but no signings were made and a subsequent injury crisis has
contributed to champions Inter lying 13 points behind leaders AC
Milan at Serie A's mid-season break.
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