Benitez congratulates Pecchia over Cremonese promotion

Rafa Benitez has publicly congratulated his former Napoli and Real Madrid assistant manager Fabio Pecchia, who has earned a shock promotion to Serie A at the helm of Cremonese.

The small club had not been in the top flight since the 1995-96 campaign, but finished second in Serie B behind Lecce, both sides earning automatic promotion.

Their coach is Pecchia, who got his big break acting as an assistant manager to Benitez at Napoli from 2013-15.

They got along so well that Pecchia followed Benitez to Real Madrid and Newcastle United in the 2015-16 campaign.

“With great joy, I must congratulate my friend Fabio Pecchia and the U.S. Cremonese,” wrote Benitez on his website.

“That congratulations extends, logically, first to your family and friends Fabio, and then to all the members of your coaching staff, the Club, and fans.

“From the beginning, a great job was done with a young group of players and that Fabio has been able to direct and guide with mastery. The suffering of the final matches gives even more merit to the achievement.

“So, my friend Fabio, enjoy with your people and rest a bit, the new challenges will come, and I am sure that success will continue to accompany you. A hug. Rafa.”

Pecchia is still only 48 years old and his head coach roles were at Hellas Verona from 2016-18, briefly at Avispa Fukuoka and then in 2019-20 at the Juventus Under-23 squad in Serie C.

He took the Cremonese job in January 2021 and is expected to remain next season in Serie A.

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