November 22, 2012 - 09:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Chelsea have appointed former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez as interim manager until the end of the season, BBC Sport reported.
Previous manager Roberto Di Matteo was sacked on Wednesday, Nov 21, following the 3-0 Champions League defeat by Juventus.
Benitez's short-term appointment could pave the way for owner Roman Abramovich to make a summer approach for ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
Benitez, 52, becomes the Blues' ninth manager since Abramovich took over in 2003.
A Chelsea statement said: "The owner and the board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives. The two-time Uefa Manager of the Year comes with outstanding pedigree."
Benitez joined Liverpool from Valencia in 2004 and won the Champions League in 2005, as well as reaching the final in 2007, before leaving Anfield by mutual consent in 2010.
He has been out of work since he was sacked by Inter Milan in December 2010 after just six months in charge despite winning two titles - the Club World Cup and Italian Super Cup.
The Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham on Thursday, before his first match in charge at home to leaders Manchester City on Sunday.