Madrid - Real Madrid have appointed Rafa Benitez as their new coach, the troubled Spanish giants said Wednesday.
Benitez takes over from Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked last week after a disappointing season yielded no trophies for Los Merengues.
The 55-year-old Benitez, who left Italian club Napoli Monday, has signed a three-year contract with Real. He is the 10th coach appointed by Real's controversial president Florentino Perez in his tumultous 12-year reign.
Benitez was a player in Real's youth teams in the 1970s but his promising career was cut short by injury. He started out as a coach in the club's youth scheme, and was assistant to present-day Spain manager Vicente del Bosque with Real's first team in 1994.
He then enjoyed largely successful spells at Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura, Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli.
According to media reports, Benitez has asked Perez for greater control over signings and sales than other coaches have enjoyed at Real.
He will have to decide whether the team needs a new striker - Sergio Aguero of Manchester City has been mentioned by the media - and goalkeeper.
David de Gea of Manchester United is reportedly being considered as the successor to Real's veteran keeper Iker Casillas.
Benitez will be presented by Perez to the media later Wednesday.
Real finished two points behind champions Barcelona in La Liga, were eliminated by Juventus in the semi-finals of the Champions League, and were ousted from the Spanish Cup by neighbours Atletico.