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Rafa Surprised By Reina Deal

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez admits he was surprised to sign long-serving Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina on loan.

Reina had been the Reds' number one since Benitez brought him to Anfield from Villarreal in 2005.

The 30-year-old, however, has now been allowed to leave on a season-long deal following the Merseysiders' signing of Belgium international Simon Mignolet from Sunderland.

"Obviously I know the situation and I was surprised," Benitez said. "We were trying to sign Julio Cesar [QPR keeper] and it was a surprise for us when Pepe Reina was available.

"For us it is a big boost and it is really important because he is a great player so we are really pleased.

"I would say he has a lot of respect for the club and he was surprised by the decision and because nobody had told him.

"He has a great relationship with the fans and the club so I don't think he has any problem with them."

Asked if Reina was still a world-class keeper, Benitez replied: "100 per cent - he is still a fantastic keeper.

"We knew he had a long contract so it would have been impossible and we were not even thinking about him.

"We were talking about Cesar and then we realised that he was available and that was perfect."

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