What will Inter do with Benitez?

MILAN - World, European and Italian champions Inter Milan have been stunned by coach Rafael Benitez's attack on what he saw as their lack of ambition.

The Spaniard, after just six months in charge, called at the weekend for the club to make signings in the January transfer window or consider whether they wanted to keep him on.

Here we look at the options Inter president Massimo Moratti has, including the possible successors to Benitez if he is axed.

KEEP BENITEZ

Benitez did what Moratti asked and triumphed in the Club World Cup and although the president has labelled the coach's outburst "inappropriate", the passion he has shown may convince Moratti that Benitez has what it takes for more silverware.

Changing coach so soon after Jose Mourinho left for Real Madrid in May would cause fresh upheaval in the middle of the season just when Benitez was beginning to turn the corner and get injured players back.

SACK BENITEZ

Moratti had hinted he would have considered the coach's position anyway had Inter not won the Club World Cup, given that they lie seventh in Serie A after an uninspiring if injury-hit start to the campaign.

The club owner has not appreciated his authority being questioned, with Benitez saying he was promised signings in the close season which did not materialise.

The president has demonstrated a decisive streak many times before, sacking Roberto Mancini for dithering in 2008 despite winning the league title.

If the Spaniard was to leave, at least 10 names are in the frame to replace him.

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 since he has no links to AC Milan and is a straight talker.

He also did well to make Roma a title-chasing side and had several good battles with Inter. A lucrative contact with Zenit would probably not deter him from the challenge of reviving the European champions.

WALTER ZENGA

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 bookmakers give him surprisingly short odds to replace Benitez.

LEONARDO

Spent just one season at AC Milan last term in his debut coaching job. Quit 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.