The former Empoli head coach Maurizio Sarri has been appointed as Rafael Benítez’s successor at Napoli. The 56-year-old, who was born in Naples, had never worked in the top flight until last season. After a long career in the lower divisions, Sarri took Empoli up from Serie B and guided them to a 15th-place finish last season. Benítez chose not to renew his contract with Napoli after missing out on a Champions League place last season. He has since been appointed as Real Madrid’s new head coach. Sarri’s first order of business will be to convince the striker Gonzalo Higuaín to stay.
Adel Taraabt signs for Benfica on a free transfer after being released by Queens Park Rangers. The 26-year-old attacking midfielder joins the Portuguese champions on a five-year deal. Taraabt last played for QPR in March, and back in October then-manager Harry Redknapp claimed the Moroccan was “three stone overweight” and “not fit to play football”.
Usain Bolt says he is not yet ready for a duel with Justin Gatlin but is looking forward to silencing the confident American in a Beijing sprint “explosion” at the World Championships in August. While the Jamaican has eased into the season after an injury-disrupted 2014, Gatlin has set the fastest times of the year in both sprints and declared himself the “man to beat”. “Gatlin has been doing a lot of talking, saying a lot of things,” Bolt said ahead of Saturday’s Diamond League meeting in New York. “He’s proved he’s running fast times and he’s ready. So it should be exciting going into the World Championship. “I look forward to competing when people talk because if you don’t back it up you look really stupid.”