Exclusive. Pepe Reina: I cant wait to compete for titles again
By Oliver Wilson
Liverpool’s on loan goalkeeper Pepe Reina is looking forward to finally playing in a side that can challenge for league titles and play Champions League football, after his controversial exit from the Merseyside club to Napoli in a season long loan deal.
The Spanish goalkeeper, who joined Liverpool the season after their Champions League win over AC Milan, left Mereseyside this off-season under peculiar circumstances with the goalkeeper, and many others, feeling that he was forced out of the club after he showed an interest in a possible move to Barcelona in the early part of the summer but the 30-year-old shot stopper is more than happy to be back at a club with title ambitions.
He said, ”It’s very exciting [to be at Napoli].
“It’s been a little while without challenging for trophies or at least to be in the top two or three teams in the league.”
His new manager, Rafael Bentiez, reiterated his goalkeeper’s belief that Napoli, after a summer that has seen them lose their star striker Edson Cavanni, have strengthened their squad enough to be able to compete with current Serie A title holders, Juventus, in the forth coming race to the Scudetto.
“Napoli did a good job last season,” said the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager. “They finished second, they were a long way off Juventus but they still finished second.
“We have signed some players, we have lost three key players but we have signed so good players so I think that will be ok so we’ll have to see how we start during the season, but you can see the belief and the work rate is there and we have quality.”
Rafa’s appointment at Napoli and Pepe’s arrival at the club can be no mere coincidence after the two worked together for five seasons on Merseyside before the manager’s departure in 2010 and Reina, who viewed from afar the success of his former manager at Inter Milan before the hellish experience he had managing Chelsea, that believes that Benitez is non an even better manager than the one who took Liverpool to the top three in the Premier League and two Champions League finals.
“I think he will even more complete as a manger because of his time in different clubs after Liverpool,” continued the keeper.
“It can only be better for him, for his experience and, at the same time, better for the team [Napoli].
“It’s [management] about the experiences and to learn in every single clubs he’s been and it’s going to be very positive for us.”
Reina is particularly looking forward to the chance to play, once again, in Europe’s elite club competition, the Champions League, something that has evaded his former employees for the last two seasons.
“To be playing in the Champions League is what every player wants. It’s a pleasure to be back in it and to listen to that music before the games and be a part of it.
“I’m very much looking forward to this year.”