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Rafael Benitez’s escape route: five clubs where the Chelsea coach could fit

February 3, 2013 By Abdullah Zubair
Abramovich might soon lose his patience with interim manager Rafael Benitez whose appointment last November was meant to straighten the path twisted during Roberto Di Matteo’s last days at the club.

Unpopular Rafael Benitez might soon be out of Chelsea. Given the Chelsea owner’s intolerance with underachieving managers, it would be no news if Rafa suffers the sack in the very near future. However, should he remain until the end of the season, it is likely that his short-term contract at Stamford Bridge will not be extended.

So where is it next for the former Liverpool manager? We look at five clubs which could each offer Rafael Benitez an escape route.


Valencia was the club where Benitez first enjoyed notable success. He defied all odds by guiding Los Che to their first league title in 31 years, back in 2002. They enjoyed even more success in 2004 under Benitez’s guidance as they won both La Liga and UEFA Cup titles. From then onwards, Valencia have gone on a decline. Rafa could be the man to resurrect this team which is struggling to compete with giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.


Real Madrid

Being a former Madridista as a coach and a player himself, Benitez is aware of the values at the club. He guided Real Madrid’s U-19s to three titles – the 1992/93 Spain U-19 League and the Spain U-19 Cup (in 1991 and 1993). In 2004, he also served as an assistant to then Real Madrid manager Vicente del Bosque. 

The post Benitez is yet to take at the Santiago Bernabeu is the hot seat, currently occupied by former Chelsea boss and personal rival Jose Mourinho. But with the ‘Only One’ facing dislike from many supporters and club members according to Spanish paper Marca, speculations reveal that Real Madrid are looking to appoint a new manager – if not immediately, at least in summer. Benitez’s success in Spain and his former allegiance with Los Blancos could make him a strong candidate for the Real Madrid coaching job.

Queens Park Rangers

QPR might not be the glorious team Benitez would want to manage, but it surely will be a new challenge for the Spanish manager who has coached Segunda Division teams Extremadura and Tenerife in the past. With Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes on a spending spree, Benitez may do a brilliant job in helping the team's quest to keep playing top-flight football. 

During his reign at Liverpool, Rafa was able to make effective use of the money handed to him. He purchased top players including Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Jose Reina, Daniel Agger, Dirk Kuyt, Javier Mascherano, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson. Londoners QPR want to develop as a force in England. Appointing Rafael Benitez could turn out to be a sublime decision. 

Borussia Dortmund Rafael Benitez would welcome the chance of managing a club in the UEFA Champions League.

Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has been linked to a host of clubs and the German giants might be without a manager this summer. Benitez’s preference for attacking play is consistent with their free flowing attacking game.

Dortmund have not experienced European success in a long time and given Benitez’s success in the competition, he could be a perfect fit at the club. Besides, this might see the Real Madrid Castilla product build an interesting rivalry with Bayern Munich’s future coach, Pep Guardiola. 

AC Milan

The current Milan side is a shadow of its former self. They were once a force in Italy and Europe. The Rossoneri have failed to give Serie A champions Juventus a fight. Milan have negligible chances of even qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. 

Massimiliano Allegri’s management of the club this year has created huge doubts over his future. Three years after enduring a miserable spell with Internazionale, Rafa could return to the San Siro and take over at Milan to help the club realise its true potential under his leadership. One thing to note: the press will be curious about the Spaniard’s relationship with new signing Mario Balotelli.




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Group A
Jun 14 11:00amMoscow
Russia 5 - 0 Saudi Arabia
Jun 15 8:00amYekaterinburg
Egypt 0 - 1 Uruguay
Jun 19 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Russia vs Egypt
Jun 20 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia
Jun 25 10:00amVolgograd
Saudi Arabia vs Egypt
Jun 25 10:00amSamara
Uruguay vs Russia
Group B
Jun 15 11:00amSaint Petersburg
Morocco 0 - 1 Iran
Jun 15 2:00pmSochi
Portugal 3 - 3 Spain
Jun 20 8:00amMoscow
Portugal vs Morocco
Jun 20 2:00pmKazan
Iran vs Spain
Jun 25 2:00pmSaransk
Iran vs Portugal
Jun 25 2:00pmKaliningrad
Spain vs Morocco
Group C
Jun 16 6:00amKazan
France 2 - 1 Australia
Jun 16 12:00pmSaransk
Peru 0 - 1 Denmark
Jun 21 8:00amSamara
Denmark vs Australia
Jun 21 11:00amYekaterinburg
France vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amSochi
Australia vs Peru
Jun 26 10:00amMoscow
Denmark vs France
Group D
Jun 16 9:00amMoscow
Argentina 1 - 1 Iceland
Jun 16 3:00pmKaliningrad
Croatia 2 - 0 Nigeria
Jun 21 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Argentina vs Croatia
Jun 22 11:00amVolgograd
Nigeria vs Iceland
Jun 26 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Iceland vs Croatia
Jun 26 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
Nigeria vs Argentina
Group E
Jun 17 8:00amSamara
Costa Rica 0 - 1 Serbia
Jun 17 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
Brazil 1 - 1 Switzerland
Jun 22 8:00amSaint Petersburg
Brazil vs Costa Rica
Jun 22 2:00pmKaliningrad
Serbia vs Switzerland
Jun 27 2:00pmMoscow
Serbia vs Brazil
Jun 27 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
Switzerland vs Costa Rica
Group F
Jun 17 11:00amMoscow
Germany 0 - 1 Mexico
Jun 18 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
Sweden vs Korea Republic
Jun 23 11:00amRostov-on-Don
Korea Republic vs Mexico
Jun 23 2:00pmSochi
Germany vs Sweden
Jun 27 10:00amKazan
Korea Republic vs Germany
Jun 27 10:00amYekaterinburg
Mexico vs Sweden
Group G
Jun 18 11:00amSochi
Belgium vs Panama
Jun 18 2:00pmVolgograd
Tunisia vs England
Jun 23 8:00amMoscow
Belgium vs Tunisia
Jun 24 8:00amNizhny Novgorod
England vs Panama
Jun 28 2:00pmKaliningrad
England vs Belgium
Jun 28 2:00pmSaransk
Panama vs Tunisia
Group H
Jun 19 8:00amSaransk
Colombia vs Japan
Jun 19 11:00amMoscow
Poland vs Senegal
Jun 24 11:00amYekaterinburg
Japan vs Senegal
Jun 24 2:00pmKazan
Poland vs Colombia
Jun 28 10:00amVolgograd
Japan vs Poland
Jun 28 10:00amSamara
Senegal vs Colombia
Knockout Stage

Round of 16
Jun 30 10:00amKazan
[1C] vs [2D]
Jun 30 2:00pmSochi
[1A] vs [2B]
Jul 1 10:00amMoscow
[1B] vs [2A]
Jul 1 2:00pmNizhny Novgorod
[1D] vs [2C]
Round of 16
Jul 2 10:00amSamara
[1E] vs [2F]
Jul 2 2:00pmRostov-on-Don
[1G] vs [2H]
Jul 3 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[1F] vs [2E]
Jul 3 2:00pmMoscow
[1H] vs [2G]
Quarter Final
Jul 6 10:00amNizhny Novgorod
[W49] vs [W50]
Jul 6 2:00pmKazan
[W53] vs [W54]
Jul 7 10:00amSamara
[W55] vs [W56]
Jul 7 2:00pmSochi
[W51] vs [W52]
Jul 10 2:00pmSaint Petersburg
[W57] vs [W58]
Jul 11 2:00pmMoscow
[W59] vs [W60]
Third place match
Jul 14 10:00amSaint Petersburg
[L61] vs [L62]
Jul 15 11:00amMoscow
Final: FIFA World Cup 2018