APPIANO GENTILE - Inter's new coach Rafael Benitez was unveiled to the media today in a press conference at the Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti.
The Spanish tactician signed a two-year contract with the Italian and European champions last week after a six-year spell with Premier League outfit Liverpool.
"I want to thank Inter for this opportunity, and the fans too, who immediately welcomed me with affection. I am very pleased and proud to be here," said Benitez, who sat alongside Inter chief executive Ernesto Paolillo, vice managing director Stefano Filucchi and technical director Marco Branca.
"It wasn't easy to leave Liverpool, but the situation has changed and I needed to move," explained Benitez. "I had the perfect opportunity with Inter, a massive club, and I'm really pleased to be here. Inter is a fantastic club. They did very well this year and we will see if we can keep this level next season.
"I have been in contact with 95 percent of my ex-players. I thanked them for everything and they wished me luck. Gerrard? I spoke to him on his birthday and for now he only wants to talk about the World Cup.
"Everything is fine, the relationship with my old players is very good. The club was fantastic and the fans were amazing so it was a sad day when I had to go, but things changed so I had to do it. Now I am here in a new club and I am very pleased to be here."
Benitez has joined treble-winning Inter in the sign of continuity and he hopes to repeat what was achieved by José Mourinho's team last season. "With the club I have to talk and analyse the future," he said. "Mourinho did a great job here but I'm a different coach. I hope to be successful here and try to win some titles. The main thing is to keep the team's mentality and try to win some titles. We will see at the end of the year if I have been successful or not.
"Will there be any new players? Yes, I think so. I hope to buy good players, of a good level. The mentality is to win by playing well, and playing well depends on the players you have. The players here are good. They like playing good football and winning. We have so many high level player and Maicon, for example, is one of them. I wish all of our players at the World Cup the best of luck, including Maicon, who is important for us. I have to talk to the club about the transfer market. Samuel Eto'o? He sacrificed himself a lot for Inter last season. He is a good and intelligent player and I am sure he will make the same sacrifices again next year if needed."
Benitez was asked if he shares the opinion of Diego Maradona that Cambiasso and Mascherano can't play in the same team. He replied: "Maradona is the coach of the Argentina national team. Cambiasso is a top-level player for me. I am happy to have him here with us. Of these two players, he's the only one we have.
"Coutinho? We have spoken about him. He's young and he's a good player. Balotelli? He's a quality player and he's important. I'm pleased he's with us. Obviously I haven't worked with him yet and the same goes for the other players."
Replying to a question about past rumours of a move to Juventus, Benitez said: "I have no memory of this right now. There is a lot of talk in football, but ultimately the most important thing is actually joining a club. I have done this with Inter and I am very happy. This is the important thing.
"I think that after two years you will know me better. I like working hard and pushing my players. As for training sessions, we will obviously do closed training sessions because it's important for the other teams not to see what we do, but there will be the occasional open session because it's good for the team to feel the support of the fans."