Chelsea appoint Rafael Benitez

2012-11-21 21:50

London - Chelsea announced on Wednesday that Rafael Benitez had been appointed their interim first team-manager until the end of the season after the European champions sacked Roberto Di Matteo.

Di Matteo was fired after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat by Juventus in Turin left Chelsea facing elimination at the group stage of the Champions League.

But within a matter of hours Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner who has now sacked seven managers since buying the club in 2003, appointed former Liverpool and Inter Milan boss Rafael Benitez, albeit in a caretaker capacity.

"Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season," said a club statement.

"The owner (Abramovich) and the board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives."

However, the fact he has joined Chelsea on such a short-term contract is bound to intensify speculation that former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, currently on a one-year sabbatical from soccer, is the man Abramovich truly wants to take charge at Stamford Bridge on a full-time basis

The 52-year-old Benitez is due to meet Chelsea's players at the club's training ground in Cobham, south of London, on Thursday.

Chelsea's statement said the Spaniard, a two-time UEFA Manager of the Year, came with an "outstanding pedigree".

At Valencia he twice won the Spanish League and the UEFA Cup while his six years at Liverpool yielded an FA Cup and the Merseysiders' fifth European Cup.

Benitez left Liverpool by "mutual consent" in 2010 after the club finished the English Premier League season in seventh place, their worst position since 1999.

However, days later, he then took charge of Inter Milan only for his spell in charge of the Italian giants to last just a matter of months.

Benitez, who up until Wednesday had not held a managerial post since leaving the San Siro, quit Inter in December 2010 after calling on the club to back him or sack him in the upcoming January transfer market following the team's FIFA Club World Cup final win over Congolese side Mazembe in Abu Dhabi.


  • malume.morena - 2012-11-21 22:26

    Does it mean that Chelsea can not lose a game. What is Rafael Benitez's mandate? Let business people stay in business and let sports man do what they are good at!

      dhirshan.gobind - 2012-11-22 08:30

      this is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. what difference will this really make?

  • abraham.karelse - 2012-11-21 22:28

    It seems the Chelsea hierarchy were looking for an excuse to sack Roberto anyway,just to get Benitez who was clubless as they never believed in him(Robbie) anyway.Hopefully he can also say Chelsea did him a favor like he said West Brom did.

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-11-21 22:35

    WTF?! how is he an improvement?!

  • ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2012-11-22 00:08

    He fired Mourinho to fulfill his wants this Chelsea owner

  • joe.mangena.1 - 2012-11-22 05:46

    This Rafael isn't the one that had sunk Liverpool and then went to fail at Inter?

      Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-11-22 06:46

      Yeah, he single-handedly ruined Liverpool. Stupid move by Chelsea owner. Why not just keep Roberto till end of season if he wants Pep.

      aadil.esack - 2012-11-22 10:07

      Rafa took a very average LFC team & won the Champions League in his 1st season ! He won the FA Cup the next season. Took them back to the Champions League Final the next season. 2 years later, LFC had their best finish in the league in over 20 years ! The ONLY thing that stopped Rafa was the then useless owner's, who did not give him backing in the transfer market. He wanted to buy the likes of Mata, Silva & Hazard back then already, but instead they only gave him enough funds to buy the likes of Kyriakos & Voronin - as he said, "i asked for a table, they gave me a lampshade" In his 6 months at Inter, he won 2 trophies .... As a tactician, he is second to NONE - absolutely BRILLIANT. And with the quality of player's he now has at his disposal at chelski, they will be virtually unstoppable, unfortunately for the rest of us. Sure, huge game this weekend, which they may lose, but give them a few games to gel & mark my words ... he may even get Traitor-res scoring again You can bet he will get a hero's reception on his return to Anfield As a Red, i'm hugely disappointed, as now chelski have the player's AND a fantastic manager ! Well done to the Russian on this one I must say, unfortunately ...

      kingswing69 - 2012-11-22 13:12

      to Tiaan you have know idea what you talking about well said Aadil . Y.N.W.A

  • rudzanimulaudzi.mulaudzi - 2012-11-22 06:32

    Is he the best for Chelsea or its because they dont have choice or its a mixture of business, sports and politics. Because what if he loses like at Inter, what then?

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