Potential successors to Benitez at Inter

MILAN - World club, European and Italian champions Inter Milan parted company with coach Rafael Benitez on Thursday after just six months following a poor domestic spell and his attack on what he saw as their lack of ambition.

Here we look at the possible successors Inter president Massimo Moratti could choose.

LEONARDO

Spent just one season at AC Milan last term in his debut coaching job. Quit following their third-place finsh in Serie A after becoming frustrated with Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi interfering.

His links to Milan, also as a player, and the fact his managerial spell was not so successful would appear to count against him but media reports say Moratti admires the Brazilian.

Fans in the rest of the world may view the idea of last season's Milan coach managing Inter just a season later as extremely bizarre but in Italian soccer anything is possible. and he is the early favourite.

Many players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Clarence Seedorf have played for both the city rivals.

WALTER ZENGA

The former Inter goalkeeping great has said his dream is to coach his old side but after inconsistent spells in Romania and in charge of Catania and Palermo, the current coach of Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr lacks managerial pedigree.

A six-month caretaker role might suit, however, and, after favourite Leonardo, bookmakers give him surprisingly short odds to replace Benitez.

LUCIANO SPALLETTI

The former AS Roma coach has just won the Russian league with Zenit St Petersburg and would be a popular choice for fans given he has no links to AC Milan and is a straight talker.

Did well to make Roma a title-chasing side and had several good battles with Inter but Zenit say he is staying.

FRANK RIJKAARD

Out of work after leaving Galatasaray in October, former Netherlands coach Rijkaard fits the bill given his history of winning La Liga and the Champions League with Barcelona. However, the ex-AC Milan player would have to convince Inter fans of his loyalty and having failed in Turkey he has slipped off the radar slightly.

DIEGO SIMEONE

The tough-nut Argentine is a former Inter player and his demanding attitude might just be what club president Moratti feels his players need. His managerial career in Argentina has been very up and down and he was last at San Lorenzo, leaving in April after a run of poor form.

FABIO CAPELLO

Moratti was half-interested in Capello before plumping for Benitez and only a resignation from the England boss could facilitate the move.

The 64-year-old has consistently said the England job is his last but that has not stopped media speculation that the former AC Milan, Juventus and AS Roma coach may be tempted to complete the quartet and finally manage Inter.

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI

The Ireland coach, a former Inter manager, could be brought in as a caretaker for the rest of the season as an old hand perfect to steady the ship. He could combine the job with Ireland but his bosses there would have to agree and at 71 he may be too old for the cut and thrust of Serie A.

LUIS FIGO

The former Inter winger now works as an ambassador for the club but has no managerial experience. However, the former world player of the year would command huge respect from the squad as either a caretaker or permanent coach.

BEPPE BARESI

Assistant coach to Jose Mourinho and Benitez at Inter, Baresi is Nerazzurri through and through having spent almost his entire career with the club. Brother of AC Milan great Franco Baresi, he might not be high profile enough for some fans as a permanent manager but would be welcomed as a caretaker.

PEP GUARDIOLA

Moratti loves the way Barcelona play and if their coach does not extend his deal with the Catalans, which expires at the end of the season, then Inter would be first in the queue with a caretaker put in charge until the end of the campaign.


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