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SWAPPING SIDES: Rafael Benitez becomes Everton manager

Rafael Benitez becomes Everton manager, signing a three year deal at Goodison Park despite previously managing city rivals Liverpool.

The 61 year-old Spaniard succeeds Carlo Ancelotti after his shock decision to return to Real Madrid earlier in the summer. Benitez previously spent six seasons at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010 so his decision to join Everton, whose ground is less than a mile from Anfield, has raised a few eyebrows.

As well as his time at Liverpool, Benitez has also managed Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid. His last stint in the Premier League was with Newcastle United and despite winning over many fans, he left in 2019 with reports suggesting he was unhappy with the lack of ambition in the transfer market.

Speaking to the club website, Benitez said: “I am delighted to be joining Everton. Throughout this process I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the Club and their desire to bring success to this historic Club.

“I believe this is a Club that is going places. I’m determined to play a big part in helping this great Club achieve its ambitions.”#

 

Analysis - big risk

 

There is no doubt that Benitez has the pedigree that Everton's majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri was looking for. The Spaniard has won seven major honours including La Liga titles, the FA Cup and of course the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.

Moshiri has ignored some pretty heavy fan opposition in appointing Benitez, including the nasty business of offensive messages hung outside Goodison Park and a ‘We know where you live. Don’t sign’ banner hung over a garden wall near Benitez’s home in Caldy on the Wirral.

During his time at Liverpool, Benitez referred to Everton as a 'small club' and you do get the feeling that things could turn toxic pretty quickly if results are not produced. However, Benitez has been here before as he joined Chelsea as interim coach in 2012. That was another club that he had previously not been too kind about as Liverpool manager but credit to him, he managed to save their season by qualifying for the Champions League and winning the Europa League.

Speaking to the club website, Moshiri cited his early achievements as the main reason for hiring him.

"Look at the job he did at Valencia, for example. At a time when Real Madrid and Barcelona were investing heavily in global superstars, against all odds he led Valencia to their first La Liga title in 31 years, and then added another La Liga title and a UEFA Cup for good measure."

Toffees fans will be hoping for something similar as Rafael Benitez becomes Everton manager.


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