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Rafael Benitez replaces Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea manager

  • Chelsea have appointed former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez as interim manager until the end of the season.

    The soccer club’s previous manager Roberto Di Matteo was dismissed on Wednesday following the 3-0 Champions League defeat to Juventus.

    Benitez's short-term appointment could see owner Roman Abramovich make a summer approach for ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

    Benitez, 52, is Chelsea’s ninth manager since Abramovich took over in 2003.

    A statement released by the club said: "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 two-time UEFA Manager of the Year comes with outstanding pedigree,” it added.

    Benitez joined Liverpool from Valencia in 2004 and won the Champions League in 2005, as well as reaching the 2007 final, before leaving by mutual consent in 2010.

    He has been out of work since he was fired by Inter Milan in December 2010 after just six months in the job.