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.