Benitez relishing Higuain-Balotelli duel

The Spaniard is encouraged by the wealth of talent both sides possess and hopes his team can win to confirm their status as Scudetto contenders

Rafael Benitez is looking forward to pitting Gonzalo Higuain against Mario Balotelli when Napoli travel to AC Milan on Sunday.

Higuain has been an instant hit in Naples, scoring three goals in four games since completing a €37 million switch from Real Madrid this summer, while Rossoneri talisman Mario Balotelli remains his side’s main goal threat.

And despite admitting the pair alone will not decide the match, Benitez has underlined how important a win could be for Napoli’s title aspirations.

“We’re talking about a very strong team [Milan]. Mario Balotelli and Gonzalo Higuain are both excellent forwards of a very high level,” the 53-year-old told reporters before the match.

I’m satisfied with Gonzalo, just as Milan are with Balotelli, but I think this clash will be decided by the collective and not individuals.

Milan are a side with a great attacking mentality and players who can make the difference. I played two Champions League finals against them with Liverpool.

“A victory for Napoli would confirm we are on the right track. We’re still at the start of the season and have a lot of improvements to make as we’re still only at 70% [of their potential].

The important thing is that we are working week after week, then we can eventually look at how far we’ve come.” 

The Spaniard has enjoyed a perfect record since taking over last term’s Serie A runners-up, with the ambitious San Paolo outfit top of the table with nine points from their first three games.

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