In what has been a tumultuous 24 hours for Chelsea Football Club, the Blues are set to announce former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as the club's new manager. The announcement comes after Champions League-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo was shown the door following a poor start to the season.
According to Goal.com Benitez will take the helm at Stamford Bridge heading into Chelsea's blockbuster clash with Manchester City. The former Inter Milan manager has not coached at the top level since 2010, but if all goes according to plan, he will sign a short-term deal with Chelsea.
Benitez was reportedly second in line for the job; however, following Pep Guardiola's affirmation he would not coach in 2013, talks began immediately. When asked about the prospects of coaching Chelsea, Benitez said:
I have to talk with my agent and see what he has been doing the last couple of days. But I am just trying to go to a team that can win. So we will find ways to have a challenge like this.
In football a lot of people are talking so we will see what happens in the next few days. I am looking for a club that can challenge for trophies and Chelsea is one of these clubs.
During his time at Liverpool, Benitez led Liverpool to the 2004-05 Champions League. Along with that, they collected the FA Cup, FA Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup. The Spaniard was also responsible for introducing Fernando Torres to the English Premier League, where he proved prolific at Anfield and if all goes according to play, the two could re-unite, possibly helping Torres find his long lost form.
Although he has been out of the coaching business for a while now, Benitez has been voted UEFA Manager of the Year on two separate occasions and could have what it takes to see Chelsea through the remainder of the season. Despite this, fans have made it clear they do not want to see Benitez take charge.
According to BBC Sport, the chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group, Trizia Fiorellino, said: I don't think Benitez is a good manager." In conjunction with this, David Johnstone—a spokesman for fanzone cfcuk—added: "Benitez is not a Chelsea manager. He isn't what we want."
With little support from the Chelsea faithful and a few years out of the job, Benitez will certainly have his work cut out for him at Stamford Bridge, but as the saying goes, "form is temporary, class is permanent."
Chelsea face Manchester City at home on Sunday knowing that a loss will see them lose touch with the top of the English Premier League. Fifty-two-year-old Benitez is expected to field Chelsea's starting XI.