Chelsea have confirmed that former Liverpool manager – Rafa Benitez has been appointed as their interim first-team manager, replacing Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked by the Blues on Wednesday.
Chelsea suffered a 3-0 defeat at Juventus on Tuesday, a match that proved to be Di Matteo’s last at the helm of the reigning European champions.
Benitez, who has been out of work for two years since being axed by Inter Milan after only six months at the San Siro, takes the Stamford Bridge reins on a deal until the end of the season. It is the second successive time he has taken charge of Champions League holders.
Before his spell at Inter, the Spanish boss spent six years in charge of Liverpool, where he had the upper hand on Chelsea in a number of high-profile encounters – including Champions League semi-finals in 2005 and 2007.
Coincidentally he will take Chelsea to the Club World Cup in December – a competition that he won as Inter boss before being sacked just days after lifting the trophy.
A statement on Chelsea’s official website said, “Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season.
The owner 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.
The 52-year-old Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham tomorrow.”