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Chelsea have appointed Rafa Benitez as the interim manager for the remainder of the season just hours after the Blues axed Roberto Di Matteo following a humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Juventus that put the Blues on the verge of a group stage elimination from the UEFA Champions League. Meanwhile, their league form has also nosedived in recent weeks with Chelsea going win-less for four straight games.
In an official statement released on their website, Chelsea announced, â€œChelsea 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.â€
52 year-old Benitez has previously managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010 and won the Champions League during his spell at Anfield. The Spaniard had a short unsuccessful stint with Inter Milan thereafter and he will be returning to a managerial job after almost two years, having being sacked by the Serie A side in December 2010.
Former Barca manager Pep Guardiola is understood to be Abramovichâ€™s eventual choice to take up the managerial responsibilities at Stamford Bridge. Guardiola has taken a year-long sabbatical and Abramovich will try to lure the decorated Spaniard to Chelsea before the start of next season.
While Rafa's appointment is unlikely to go down well with the Chelsea fans, there is little doubting the Spaniard's ability, either as a man-manager or a tactician. Also, his having worked with Fernando Torres while at Liverpool is likely to benefit both men and the Blues as a result.
While the appointment is certainly short term in nature, it would be foolhardy to think Chelsea are 'done' for the season, and one could well see a stronger Chelsea side emerge in the coming weeks, well capable of challenging for honours.
- 25/11/2012 19:51 - Liverpool held again as Reds fail to unlock Swansea defence
- 24/11/2012 22:03 - Exhausted Arsenal fire blanks at Villa Park
- 24/11/2012 20:01 - Man United come from behind yet again, go top after 3-1 victory over QPR