Rafa Benitez appointed as Chelsea Manager




Hours after the ruthless sacking of Roberto De Matteo who famously won the Champions League with Chelsea just 6 months back, Chelsea have appointed former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez as their interim manager. Benitez has been out of work for almost 2 years now. He had a disappointing last year and half before he went out of work. He was axed as Liverpool manager following their dismal performance in the 2009-10 season and then again fired as Inter Manager midway through his first season in Italy.

Rafa Benitez appointed as Chelsea Manager

Rafa Benitez appointed as Chelsea Manager

Benitez though boasts an impressive CV. The Spanish ace was the last manager to win a La Liga title with a club other than Real Madrid or Barcelona. Benitez had achieved the feat twice with Valencia before he resigned as their manager following rows with the management. Benitez’s most famous moment though came at the end of his first season as Liverpool Manager. The amazing match at Istanbul where Liverpool famously defeated Milan to win their 5th Champions League. His skill as manager was proved with that match as he inspired a defeated Liverpool team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the prestigious trophy. Benitez also led Liverpool to an F.A Cup glory the following season and another European final in 2007 although this time he had come out as second best.

He then took Liverpool to a second place finish in 2008-09 season narrowly missing the league title. The season was famous for Liverpool’s amazing victories over Real Madrid and Manchester United in the same week. Liverpool defeated the Spanish giants 5-0 on aggregate in the Champions League and then defeated Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford which was their biggest home defeat at that time. (The current record is City’s 6-1 triumph in the 2011-12 season).

Benitez had an eye for talent. During his course as Liverpool manager the Spanish man signed players like Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Lucas Leiva. It was Benitez who convinced the young Suso to join Liverpool instead of Madrid and Barcelona. Benitez also signed the talented Raheem Sterling from QPR at the age of 15. Today some of those players he signed form an integral part of the Liverpool squad. Others who left the club like Xabi Alonso who is the backbone of the Real Madrid midfield show the quality of his signings.

Benitez was a man who tormented Chelsea during his time. His key weapon was Fernando Torres paired up with Steven Gerrard. With Benitez back as manger one man who is bound to have a switch in fortunes is Fernando Torres. Torres was at the peak of his career while playing for Liverpool under Benitez. Maybe Benitez has the solution to the misfiring Spaniard who is also the most expensive signing in English football.

One has to still feel for Roberto De Matteo and Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger said it is “Very Sad” to see him sacked and just as strange to see Benitez get the job. Wenger believes the Spaniard’s CV warrants more than a caretaker role and shouldn’t have lowered himself for such a demanding role. He is appointed for such a short time and I’m surprised that he accepted that.

Benitez was the man who made a comment regarding Chelsea in 2007 “We don’t need to give away stupid plastic flags to our fans to wave – our supporters are always there with their hearts and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps us win matches “.

Benitez was always linked with big club moves ever since his hibernation, with AC Milan being the latest. He was also linked with QPR if Mark Hughes was fired. Benitez was also linked with a move back to Liverpool when Kenny Dalglish was fired.

With Benitez as manager speculations regarding Torres might die for now as the manager is a big fan of the fellow country man and has a beautiful history with the out of form Torres. Liverpool fans might be worried not that some of their key players whom Benitez had signed might want to leave the club to join Benitez.

Benitez will have to concentrate heavily on the league now that their Champions League hopes are almost dead. The Spaniard will meet up with the Chelsea team on Thursday for the first time.

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