Rafa Benitez has fired a subtle dig at the man who replaced him at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho.
New Napoli boss Benitez never really saw eye to eye when managing against The Special One, and has now suggested that he does not appreciate Mou’s propensity towards debatably unsportsmanlike behaviour.
He also says that far more diplomatic Carlo Ancelotti will be a hit when he is finally unveiled as Real Madrid manager, for his ability to put out the Bernabeu fires that Mourinho left raging behind him.
"I don't know what Mourinho does. I know what I do: I always want to win, without crossing the line of sportsmanship,” Benitez told AS.
“It's true that I get on better with some coaches than others and I align myself with those that don't value winning at any cost."
Benitez obtained his football education through the ranks at Real Madrid, and has hinted that the club he saw of late was not the same club where he is proud to trace his roots in the beautiful game.
"I joined Madrid's academy when I was 13 and learned everything there. I received a sporting education from Madrid and I was taught to show respect and dignity towards the opponents whether we won or lost," he said.
The spectre of Mourinho’s arrival at Stamford Bridge stalked Rafa’s interim reign at Chelsea.
It is credit to him that he was still capable of achieving his objectives, as set out by the Premier League club, as well win some bonus silverware.
But as is his wont, Benitez says Chelsea’s “sensational team” deserves the kudos.
"Everyone at Chelsea knew that Mourinho was going to come back at the end of the season,” he said.
"But that didn't take away any of my ambition or willingness to achieve our objectives and we won the Europa League, which says a lot about the seamless commitment of that sensational team."
Meanwhile, regarding Ancelotti’s seemingly inevitable appointment at Madrid, Benitez says the man he knows well from head-to-head clashes between Liverpool and AC Milan in the Champions League, will appear as a salve to a dressing room left fractured by Mourinho.
“I think [Ancelotti’s appointment is] the correct choice because he will be a conciliator in the dressing room and inside the club. I think the club will appreciate that change."