Chelsea have appointed Rafa Benitez as first team manager after sacking Roberto Di Matteo. Benitez is reported to have signed an interim deal until the end of the season, having flown back from Abu Dhabi to talk with the club. One man who may be delighted to see Benitez is Fernando Torres, who flourished under the Spaniard at Liverpool.
However there has already been vocal opposition from Chelsea fans at the idea of Benitez’ being appointed as manager. Benitez had several run-ins with Chelsea when manager of Liverpool, and there were chants at matches against his appointment when it was proposed after Andre Villas-Boas’ dismissal earlier this year. Fans and ex-players have also expressed disappointment with the sacking of Di Matteo so soon after he won the Champions League and FA Cup for Chelsea.
Roberto Di Matteo was sacked in the early hours of the morning after returning from Turin, where his Chelsea side lost 3-0 to Juventus to leave them on the brink of exiting this season’s Champions League. Juan Mata has spoken about the dismissal, hailing Di Matteo as a “legend”. The man who Di Matteo replaced at Chelsea, Andre Villas-Boas, has described sacking a manager as just another day in the office at the Blues.
Pep Guardiola is still thought to be Abramovich’s long term target, but the ex-Barcelona manager is still on sabbatical in New York until next summer, and Guardiola indicated he would not be thinking about his future until the New Year, perhaps prompting the club to turn to Benitez instead.
If Chelsea were looking to change manager again in the summer, they may be able to bring Jose Mourinho back to the club. Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has said today he expects Mourinho will leave the Spanish club at the end of the current season. With Benitez stewarding the side until the summer, Abramovich may then look to either Guardiola or Mourinho then.
Another Chelsea legend who might be back at the club sooner than expected is Didier Drogba. The Ivorian striker has asked FIFA for special dispensation to join another club during the Chinese off season. Drogba could be available to play for a side during December, before heading to the African Cup of Nations in January.
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