Originally posted on Fox Soccer  |  Last updated 11/21/12
Chelsea has hired Rafa Benitez as interim manager until the end of the season, only hours after firing Roberto Di Matteo following the club's dip in form in the Premier League and Champions League title defense. Benitez replaces Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked on Wednesday morning following Chelsea's disappointing 3-0 defeat at Juventus which leaves them on the brink of being knocked out of the Champions League. Former Liverpool boss Benitez cut short an engagement in the Middle East to fly to London for talks and he has been appointed as "interim" manager until the end of the current campaign. A statement on the club's website said: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season. "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 52-year-old Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham tomorrow (Thursday). "The two-time UEFA Manager of the Year comes with outstanding pedigree. He began his managerial career in his homeland, most notably at Valencia where he built a reputation as one of Europe's top coaches by winning the Spanish League twice and the UEFA Cup. He then spent six years at Liverpool and led them to their fifth European Cup and an FA Cup." The Spaniard becomes the ninth manager under Russian owner Abramovich. An extraordinary 24 hours started with Di Matteo axeing Fernando Torres from his starting XI in Turin. Di Matteo was then fired on Wednesday morning, with Benitez appointed in the early evening. And the new man will now be reunited with Torres, the striker he turned into a £50m player at Anfield. The Associated Press was used in this report.
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