Rafael Benitez is the new manager of Real Madrid.
The reigning European champions announced on Wednesday that Benitez, 55, will take charge of the Spanish giants on a three-year deal as the former Napoli, Chelsea, Liverpool and Valencia boss returns to his home city.
[ RELATED: Full Blatter coverage ]
Benitez came up through the youth team ranks at Real as a player and his first-ever job in management was as the coach of Real’s B team back in 1993. Since then he has won two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia, a UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and trophies at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Napoli.
Real released a short statement on their website announcing that Benitez will replace the departed Carlo Ancelotti.
Real Madrid CF today presented Wednesday, June 3, Rafa Benitez as the new coach of the first team for the next three seasons. The event will take place at 13:00 pm in the Royal Box Bernabeu. Then Rafa Benitez will appear before the media in the press room.
Ancelotti won the UEFA Champions League in his debut season in charge at Real but his side fell at the semifinal hurdle this season and finished second and third in the last two La Liga campaigns. That wasn’t good enough for Real’s notorious president Florentino Perez, who fired Ancelotti.
Benitez, who perhaps isn’t the most glamorous or popular choice among Real’s fans, has a huge job on his hands but with the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo expected to stick around at the Santiago Bernabeu, his job of delivering titles and success will be a lot easier. Benitez has spent the last two seasons at Napoli, delivering top four finishes in both campaigns and a Coppa Italia trophy but he decided to move back to Spain after 11 years coaching outside of his homeland.
His past record in La Liga is phenomenal with 61 wins from 114 games in Spain’s top-flight, but this job will no doubt be the biggest challenge of Benitez’s managerial career.