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Feb 27, 2013

Tiimeline: Chelsea comforts eluded Rafa

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed he will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, blaming the tag of interim manager and the rejection from the Blues faithful for his woes.

Since his appointment in November, it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for Benitez. Here is a snapshot of the events which gave the Spaniard an unhappy stint in charge of Chelsea.

November 21, 2012: Chelsea appoint Benitez as the replacement for Roberto Di Matteo.

November 25, 2012: Benitez's first game in charge ends in a 0-0 draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. Rafa's announcement is met with a chorus of boos from the home crowd and Chelsea supporters were quick to express their disgruntled attitude towards the Chelsea boss with a number of 'Rafa out' signs seen in the stands.

Benitez was optimistic despite the negative reception, insisting the Blues fans would soon warm to him: "How many people do you need to write a banner? Just one. Then two holding it. If we start winning games, they will come on board and they will see I'll try to do my best.''

December 5: After three winless matches, Chelsea get their first win under Benitez with a 6-1 thrashing of Nordsjaelland in the Champions League. The manager insists it is a sign of things to come for the Blues.

December 19: Chelsea's hopes of silverware take another blow after a 1-0 defeat to Corinthians in the Club World Cup final.

December 21: Benitez expresses disappointment at reaction of Chelsea fans and claims he is trying to win them over.

January 9: Home defeat to west London rivals, bottom of the league QPR piles more pressure on Benitez.

January 23: Ahead of the Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Swansea, Benitez claims he was at a disadvantage when joining Chelsea given the club was in the process of a transition.

February 9: Reveals he has not spoken to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in over 20 days. Again become agitated when asked if that is a sign of uncertainty over his future.

February 19: Linked with a move to Real Madrid after admitting that is his "sweetheart" club.

February 25: Benitez gives his strongest hint that he does not expect his contract to be extended. "You know, more or less, how things go (at Chelsea) in terms of what happens if you lose or win," he said.

February 26: Rumours of a bust-up at a Chelsea training session. It emerges there was a clash between Benitez and key players, including captain John Terry.

February 27: Following Chelsea's 2-0 FA Cup win over Middlesborough, Benitez announces he is likely to leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

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