Benitez has conducted himself with class and dignity in the face of intense abuse and criticism from his own fans throughout his ‘interim’ period as Chelsea manager.
He has proved himself to be a manager that can handle the pressure and can manage experienced players with big reputations. He has managed to breathe a new found confidence into his compatriot Fernando Torres, who will be sad to see Benitez go.
Benitez was not afraid to leave out Chelsea stalwarts John Terry and Frank Lampard for long periods of the season in his renowned and maybe not so popular method of squad rotation.
The former Liverpool boss showed his tactical awareness by moving David Luiz into a midfield role instead of leaving him prone to lapses in concentration in central defence.
Benitez has said that he would consider staying in England in his next managerial role; so where could he end up? It is fair to say that he would not put himself in the running for the vacant Everton job due to his strong Liverpool connections. His fellow Spaniard Roberto Martinez is being touted as the bookies favourite to get that position.
Manchester City would do well to keep tabs on Benitez after Roberto Mancini’s departure. Benitez will take no prisoners in terms of any dissenting egos, although it does appear that Malaga’s Manuel Pellegrini is the man the Manchester City want to replace Mancini.
The question is whether or not Benitez would be willing to take the helm at one of the Premier League’s mid table teams. Stoke City could do with a change of management. Tony Pulis has done a great job at the Britannia stadium but in order to progress from the physical, long ball game that some Potters’ fans are getting fed up with, there needs to be a change and new ideas are needed. What better man to take over from Pulis other than Benitez. The likelihood of this happening is very small.
Benitez is likely to take his services to Europe as he looks for the top jobs, with Napoli and PSG mentioned and he has earned the right to do so. A quiet man who gets on with his job, he has proven tactical astuteness and strong management skills.
There will be a few Chelsea fans that booed and jeered him when he took the job at Chelsea, and who may now have a quiet admiration with the way he handled the animosity.
Jose Mourinho is set to return to Stamford Bridge, which will delight the Chelsea faithful but Rafa Benitez deserves credit for guiding them to another European trophy and securing Champions League football for next year.
image: © thesportreview