About ten months ago, Rafa Benitez was still relatively new to managing Napoli, and was looking to bring fresh faces into the squad to help shift Napoli to his tactical vision. One of the first players he brought in was José María Callejón Bueno, better known simply as José Callejón, a former Real Madrid Castilla starlet who had found it difficult to break in to the first team for one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Many questioned the purchase at the time. Callejón was bought for €10 million, a steep fee for a 26-year-old who had proven little in his career so far. The general consensus is that he would be a pricey flop, but in the end he was anything but. He scored 20 all-competitions goals, including three in the Coppa Italia run and 15 in the league to finish second in the club behind Gonzalo Higuain. He was a revelation and a fantastic performer, and is now a fan favorite.
For his part, Callejón couldn't be happier about the move. "I had to look for an alternative to play more and the proposal of Napoli was perfect. At first, especially [with] the language, it was difficult, but I am very satisfied with the decision that I [made]. I feel very identified with the club, my teammates and the fans."
Callejón also seems to have appreciated working with Rafa Benitez, adding that "[Rafa] gave me the confidence that I was missing to make the leap in quality that served to my career." That definitely seems to be the case, as Callejon showed signs of growth early in the season and just kept on getting stronger as the season went on, even showing quality at times that it was obvious that he was completely exhausted.
Despite the fact that he deserved a World Cup roster spot with Spain, he'll have the chance to rest and get healthy this summer, as well as spend time with his expanding family. He and his girlfriend just had a baby girl named India not long after the Coppa Italia final. If that's not just the perfect way to cap a successful season, I don't know what is.