Wednesday, November 21, 2012
RAFAEL BENITEZ APPOINTED AS CHELSEA'S INTERIM COACH
Former Liverpool coach, Rafa Benitez has been appointed as the new manager of Chelsea until the end of the season, replacing Roberto Di Matteo who was ruthlessly sacked earlier in the day.
The decision, unpopular among many Chelsea diehards, means Roman Abramovich has his ninth manager in nine years as owner.
A statement on the club 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.'
It is believed the former Liverpool manager has taken the job until the end of the season, when he will be replaced by Pep Guardiola. He flew in from Doha this afternoon for talks.
The board held an emergency meeting on Wednesday afternoon to decide to offer the post to Benitez, ahead of Avram Grant.
Di Matteo was sacked, despite winning the European Cup and the FA Cup last season. His dismissal came at 4am on Wednesday, following a 3-0 defeat at Juventus in the Champions League that left Chelsea on the brink of going out.
Abramovich is desperate to land Guardiola as the man to take over long-term. The former Barcelona boss is currently on a year's sabbatical in New York.