Everton have announced Rafa Benitez as their new manager. The 61-year old replaces the outgoing Carlo Ancelotti who left his role to return to Real Madrid at the start of June, and has signed a 3 year deal with the Toffees after they chose the Spaniard over ex-Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo. He will be tasked with taking over the reins from Ancelotti to make them a side capable of competing for Europe year on year.
The decision to bring Benitez to Goodison Park is filled with controversy due to his links with rivals Liverpool. After inspiring Valencia to two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup title, the Spaniard came to England and brought the Champions League to Anfield in 2004/05, beating AC Milan on penalties having brought the score back to 3-3 after being 3-0 down at half time, and is often regarded as one of the greatest finals in the history of the tournament.
He is perhaps yet to top his achievements in the red half of Merseyside but went on to win the Supercoppa Italiana and the Club World Cup with Inter Milan, as well as winning the former with Napoli along with a Coppa Italia title.
He also won the Europa League as interim boss with Chelsea in 2013. Following his resignation from Napoli, Benitez signed a three-year deal with Real Madrid but failed to make it past January, getting sacked after just seven months with his side sat third in La Liga. He soon made a return to English football, shocking the world by joining a Newcastle United side who were sat in 19th and a point off of safety. He failed to keep them up despite going six games unbeaten at the end of the season but remained in the north-east to take on the Championship, bringing the Magpies back up at the first attempt, topping the division.
Benitez was able to keep them stable for the next two years but stepped down from his role ahead of the 2019/20 season due to disagreements with owner Mike Ashley, and has most recently been in charge of Dalian Professional in China.
A Stroke of Genius From Farhad Moshiri or a Controversial Mishap Bringing in Rafa Benitez?
Following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure, Everton are in need of someone who can help the club rebuild and transition back into a side who can compete with the very best. With a squad better suited to pragmatic football, Benitez should be able to bring across his philosophy with ease, taking over from a manager who implemented similar ideas.
First and foremost, he will prepare his players to apply his preferred approach for the coming fixture in significant depth, while his tactical ability in undoubtable and is capable of adapting to the quality of his squad. This is evident by the styles deployed with the likes of Real Madrid and Napoli compared to Newcastle. Similarly with his spell at Chelsea, his connection to Liverpool may prove difficult for fans to warm to him, although he has had built up a strong relationship with fans at Liverpool, Napoli and Newcastle and his experience with winning trophies can only benefit Everton. Time will tell if they have finally got the right man.
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