21/11/2012 16:16 GMT | Updated 21/11/2012 16:21 GMT

Rafael Benítez Set To Become New Chelsea Manager

Rafael Benítez is flying into London from Abu Dhabi to hold talks about replacing Roberto di Matteo as the new Chelsea manager.

Benítez rejected Blues owner Roman Abramovich's offer to take caretaker charge of the club in March after André Villas-Boas was sacked he but is now believed to be keen to return to management.

The former Liverpool manager has been out of work since December 2010 when he was fired following a disappointing six months with European champions Internazionale.

Now he could join another club where José Mourinho's shadow still looms, on the brink of Champions League elimination after Tuesday night's 3-0 defeat to Juventus.


Benítez at Stamford Bridge in 2009

Chelsea must beat Nordsjælland and hope Shakhtar Donetsk defeat Juventus in a fortnight's time otherwise they will become the first defending European champions to go out at the first round of entry since Steaua Bucharest in 1986-87.

Benítez's likely arrival at Stamford Bridge is not a popular one amongst the majority of Chelsea supporters. The Spaniard's arrival at Liverpool in 2004 coincided with José Mourinho joining Chelsea, and the two clubs experienced an intense rivalry with the two Iberian coaches at the helm, mainly due to two Champions League semi-final clashes.

Some Chelsea fans unveiled a banner at their FA Cup fifth-round replay with Birmingham City imploring the club not to employ Benítez in what was Di Matteo's first match in charge.


Benítez's last foray into the Champions League with Liverpool ended in the Merseysiders going out at the group stage in 2009. Liverpool have not played in the competition since then.