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Rafa Benitez has been announced by Everton as the man to take over from Carlo Ancelotti, after the Italian went back to Real Madrid.
Benitez is returning to the Premier League after leaving Newcastle United in 2019, and managing in the Chinese Super League for two years.
More importantly though is his return to Merseyside, 11 years after leaving Everton's cross-city rivals Liverpool, and 16 years since leading them to Champions League glory.
We can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed as our new manager.- Everton (@Everton) June 30, 2021
In a statement on the club's website, Benitez said, "I am delighted to be joining Everton. Throughout this process I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the Club and their desire to bring success to this historic Club.
"I believe this is a Club that is going places. I'm determined to play a big part in helping this great Club achieve its ambitions."
The Club's Majority Shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, said: "Rafa impressed us greatly with his knowledge and experience but, above all, the passion and hunger he showed to join our Club.
"We are appointing Rafa because we believe he will bring success to our Club and to Evertonians. To put it simply - we need to be competing at the top-end of the league and to be winning trophies. Rafa is a proven winner with huge experience in coaching internationally and we have secured the best man to achieve that for us."
The 61-year-old's appointment might not go down well in either the blue or red halves of the city and he will certainly have to win around certain parts of the Toffees' fanbase.
Whilst in charge at Anfield, the Spaniard had called Everton a 'small club' after a 0-0 draw between the two sides back in 2007.
The manager later explained that he meant they were a 'small team' during that match as he felt Everton weren't trying to win the game.
Benitez title as legend at Anfield was already under threat after his short stint as Chelsea interim manager in 2012, in which he won the Europa League.
The Blues, then managed by Jose Mourinho, were fierce rivals with Liverpool during Benitez's time in charge, with the pair often exchanging shots in press conferences.
Moving to Everton will further weaken his status at Anfield, in the eyes of many fans, even after the incredible 2005 Champions League comeback.
Benitez does have a strong personal link with the area though and he and his family continued to own property in Merseyside even when he had jobs further afield.
Fans at Goodison Park were extremely excited in December 2019 when the club appointed Ancelotti, but the former Chelsea manager didn't really finish the season well.
Everton brought in James Rodriguez last summer, reuniting him with the manager he'd worked with at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, and the Colombian started the season well.
However both his form and the form of the team fell away and Ancelotti could only lead them to a 10th place finish.
The brightest moment of the Italian's spell was the win over Liverpool at Anfield, their first win there since 1999.
With that win at last, and Benitez now their manager, the Merseyside derby in April will be interesting, although first they will welcome their rivals to Goodison in November.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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