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Benitez interested in Chelsea job

Rafa Benitez has declared an interest in Chelsea's vacant managerial post.

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Former Liverpool manager Benitez has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge since Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Tuesday's 3-0 Champions League defeat away to Juventus.

The 52-year-old, who won the Champions League with the Anfield club in 2005, has said he wants to return to management with a "team that can win".

Asked by Sport360 whether Chelsea officials had approached him about succeeding Di Matteo, he said: "You ask directly. I cannot answer directly.

"In football, a lot of people are talking, so we will see what happens in the next few days. I am looking for a club that can challenge for trophies, and Chelsea is one of these clubs.

"I have to talk with my agent and see what he has been doing in the last couple of days. But I am just trying to go to a team that can win."

Some reports suggest that Benitez - installed as an early bookmakers' favourite for the job along with Pep Guardiola and Harry Redknapp - could be open to a caretaker role at the West London club.

News of Di Matteo's dismissal, a little over six months after he had delivered the Champions League victory craved by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, was swiftly followed by suggestions that an approach for Benitez would soon be made.

The Juventus defeat means the Blues face the ignominy of being the first Champions League holders to exit the competition at the group stage, and the Times reported that "Abramovich has been in direct contact with Benitez" and suggested the Russian billionaire wanted to make an appointment until the end of the season.

ESPN understands Guardiola is Abramovich's No. 1 target, with the Spaniard approached in the summer only to turn down a reported £20 million-a-year offer.


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