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Benitez Set to be Presented as Chelsea Manager

22 Nov 2012

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Rafael Benitez


BBC

Rafael Benitez will be presented as Chelsea interim manager at 1730 GMT on Thursday after replacing sacked Roberto Di Matteo.

The 52-year-old former Liverpool boss travelled back from Abu Dhabi to his Merseyside home on Wednesday, reports the BBC.

He is expected to arrive in London to meet his new players after training.

The Spaniard has signed a deal until the end of the season, but it is understood the contract includes an option for a further year.

It is believed this would only come into effect should Chelsea fail to appoint former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola as permanent manager in the summer.

Di Matteo was sacked as Chelsea manager on Wednesday following the 3-0 Champions League loss at Juventus, after just eight months in the job.

Benitez is Chelsea's ninth manager since Roman Abramovich became owner in 2003.

His first match in charge will be Sunday's game at home to Manchester City, with Chelsea four points behind the league leaders.

Benitez joined Liverpool from Valencia in 2004 and won the Champions League in 2005, as well as reaching the final in 2007, before leaving Anfield by mutual consent in 2010.

He has been out of work since he was sacked by Inter Milan in December 2010. Benitez spent just six months in charge of the Serie A club despite winning two titles - the Club World Cup and Italian Super Cup.

Benitez had been giving a coaching seminar in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday shortly after Di Matteo's sacking.

In a statement, Chelsea said Abramovich and the board believed Benitez to be an "outstanding manager who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives".

However, given the break clause in Benitez's contract, whether he gets beyond the next seven months could be in doubt.

Abramovich is known to be a long-term admirer of Guardiola, 41, who is midway through a 12-month sabbatical after leaving Barcelona at the end of last season.

Guardiola won 14 trophies in four years at Barca, including three titles and the Champions League twice.

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