Happy Birthday, Rafa!

Marco Luzzani

Napoli's manager turns 54 today.

Today is the 54th birthday of Rafa Benitez, and the man in charge of Napoli's squad has been showered with affection today.

"I want to thank the President and all the fans for the nice messages I have received," Benitez said in an interview with Radio Kiss Kiss. "I hope I can return that with important victories between now and the end of the season."

Benitez has always been a manager who believes in the importance of the relationship between him and his club's fans, and his time with Napoli has been no exception. This season hasn't always been easy, but you can never accuse Benitez of not caring how fans feel about poor results like some managers do; that's just not the way he's wired.

As a birthday present of sorts, Aurelio De Laurentiis is reportedly ready to discuss a contract extension with Benitez. The Spaniard's current deal expires after next season, and Napoli's owner has apparently seen enough to convince him that Rafa is the right man for the job long term.

We've talked before about Rafa having a long-term vision of what he wants to happen for Napoli. Seeing such a direct show of support of that vision from De Laurentiis has to be a good thing for Rafa, especially in light of rumors that he's ready to head back to England. Given that he's fought tooth and nail with owners in the past, not having to do that in Naples can only be a good thing in Rafa's mind.

In the meantime, though, we at The Siren's Song wish Rafa a happy birthday and hope that he and his family enjoy whatever festivities are planned. Hopefully there's one more celebration in store this weekend with a resounding win over Udinese.

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