EWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Rafa Benitez manager of Newcastle United gives a thumbs up as he celebrates victory and promotion after the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St James' Park on April 24, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Newcastle United are promoted back to the Premier League following their 4-1 win.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Rafael Benitez former Liverpool manager will now take charge of Everton, the Red’s Merseyside rival. 

Everton has appointed Rafael Benitez as their new manager, replacing Carlo Ancelotti.

The Toffees have been searching for a new manager since Ancelotti’s surprise return to Real Madrid at the start of June.

Rumor had it previously that Nuno Espirito Santo was close to being appointed earlier in the month, with West Ham’s David Moyes having also been a mooted option, however it is one of their main rivals’ most successful managers of recent times who has been handed the reins instead.

Benitez has signed a three-year contract with Everton, who finished 12th and 10th in their two seasons under Ancelotti – whom the Spaniard also succeeded at Madrid in 2015.

The appointment has not come without controversy, with sections of Everton’s support having shown their displeasure by leaving messages of protest at Goodison Park, while Merseyside police are investigating a ‘threatening banner’ left close to Benitez’s family home.

Benitez led Liverpool to a famous Champions League triumph in 2005, with the Reds coming from 3-0 down to beat Ancelotti’s Milan on penalties in Istanbul.

He followed that up with an FA Cup success in 2006 and a run to the 2007 Champions League final, though Milan prevailed on that occasion. From 228 Premier League games in charge of Liverpool, he managed 126 victories – a record surpassed only by Jurgen Klopp in December 2020.

His six-year stint at Anfield came to an end in 2010, and though he went on to manage Inter, Madrid, Chelsea, Napoli and Newcastle United, he remained a Liverpool fan favourite.

Benitez has most recently coached in the Chinese Super League, having taken the helm at Dalian Professional from July 2019 to January of this year.

He becomes Everton’s fifth permanent boss in the space of five years, with Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva and Ancelotti having all held the role since Roberto Martinez – the Belgium boss who was also a reported target this time around – was relieved of his duties in 2016.

Everton starts their 2021-22 Premier League campaign at home to Southampton, with Benitez’s first reunion with Liverpool coming at Goodison Park in November


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