Benitez confirms Napoli exit

Naples, Italy ( - Napoli manager Rafael Benitez confirmed on Thursday he will leave the club at the conclusion of the Serie A season.

"I want to thank the chairman, club and fans because after two years my experience here in Napoli is coming to an end," said Benitez. "On Sunday, we have a very important match and I want to finish my two years with a victory."

Benitez, 55, is rumored to be the favorite to take the managerial role at Real Madrid, which parted ways with Carlo Ancelotti on Monday.

Napoli enter the final weekend of the season in fourth place and will face third-place Lazio with a berth in next season's Champions League on the line.

"The family has been the key to my choice," he added. "Napoli and [president] Aurelio [De Laurentiis] have made every effort and we were close to renewal."

If Benitez does take the reins at Real Madrid, he will return to mange in his home country for the first time since leaving Valencia to take charge of Liverpool in 2004.

He won a pair of La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia, and guided Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League title.

Napoli won the Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup during his two years in charge.