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Rafa Benitez linked with possible moves to Real Madrid or West Ham

With Napoli out of the Europa League the speculation on Rafael Benitez's future ramps up again.

Where in the world will Rafael Benitez coach next season?
Where in the world will Rafael Benitez coach next season?
Getty Images/Getty Images

The saga of Rafael Benitez has had many twists and turns. First he was going then he was staying. Now with Napoli narrowly knocked out of the Europa League by Dnipro and facing a 3-point deficit to Roma to make the Champions League, fresh reports of Benitez's exit arise.

Mundo Deportivo are reporting that that Benitez is a possibility for the Real Madrid job if Carlo Ancelotti leaves. While Benitez's name might not be the first on the lips of most fans of Los Merengues the appointment would make some sense. Benitez is not only an ex-player for Real Madrid's reserves but also coached the reserves in the mid 1990s.

His record at Valencia, with two league titles and European success in the UEFA Cup, would give him credibility with the notoriously difficult to please Madrid fans, and so would his old ties to the club, having come up through the academy and managed Real Madrid B. Plus, he's won a Champions League title at Liverpool so Benitez ticks that box as well.

Another report from Sports Mediaset claims that Benitez's future won't be settled until it's determined whether the partenopei qualify for the Champions League, but if he doesn't stay with Napoli then it could mean a return to the English Premier League with West Ham United.

Now quite a few fans will scoff at this link, but the Hammers will likely say goodbye to Sam Allardyce in two weeks and they have the Olympic Stadium to fill starting next season. The increased revenue from the Premier League's massive TV deal and the expected increase in match day revenue from moving to the new stadium will see the Hammers as major players in the transfer market, with aims at much higher finishes than the midtable standings Hammer fans have had to grow accustomed to. And if by chance West Ham qualify for the Europa League via the Fair Play qualification rules, then Benitez will be back in his element leading a side through a European competition.

One thing seems likely, Rafael Benitez will be leading a side when the next season starts, it's just a question of which one. Once more, though, it's feeling like that side won't be Napoli.