ROME (AFP) - Rafael Benitez was appointed coach of Serie A side Napoli on Monday the club president announced.
The 53-year-old Spaniard - whose previous experience in Serie A was a painful short-lived spell with Inter Milan - had been widely expected to be named and Napoli supremo Aurelio De Laurentiis tweet confirmed that to be the case.
"Rafa Benitez is the new coach of Napoli," tweeted De Laurentiis, whose side finished runners-up in the recently finished Serie A season.
"He is a man of experience and a true leader." Benitez, who had also been linked with French champions Paris Saint-Germain, had a successful spell in charge of Chelsea after replacing the sacked Champions League winning coach Roberto di Matteo.
The Spaniard guided Chelsea to the Europa League crown and also helped them qualify for next season's Champions League after being brought in on a short-term basis.
However, despite being popular with owner Roman Abramovich he never won over the supporters, who verbally abused him from the stands from the start.
The Chelsea fans yearned for the return of their adored Jose Mourinho, after he largely failed at Real Madrid, and appear likely to get their wish.
According to the Spanish press Benitez was to sign a two year contract with the option of extending it by a further year and an annual salary of 3.5 million euros (S$5.7 million).
Benitez replaces Walter Mazzarri, widely rumoured to be heading to Inter Milan next season.
Ironically, Benitez's last Italian adventure was at Inter but lasted only six months and ended just after having won the Club World Cup.
His team had struggled in the league and he had forced officials' hands by telling them to strengthen his squad or find another solution, which they did.
Although his joining Chelsea was hugely unpopular with many fans, he has a good record.
He won two Spanish titles and the Europa League with Valencia while he led Liverpool to Champions League success in 2005.