ESPN FC panel explains why Rafa Benitez was linked to Everton. (1:51).Rafael Benitez, a former Liverpool manager, has been appointed new manager of Merseyside rivals Everton.The Premier League club has signed the 61-year old to a three-year contract. He replaces Carlo Ancelotti who shocked Real Madrid by making a surprise return on June 1.Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. Only)ESPN reported earlier this month from sources that Benitez was being considered for Goodison Park's management, but was challenged by Eddie Howe, Roberto Martinez and Nuno Espirito Sante to fill the vacant role.Benitez said that he could see the ambition and told Everton TV. "This club's growth is evident."It is about winning the mentality and being competitive so that everything is in order on and off the pitch. The passion shown by the club's people is something I love. I know the people, the city, and Scousers. I understand what it means to be a fan to compete and win."To be able to come to Everton means a lot. The owner and board are ambitious. Everyone wants to improve their game and go to the new stadium. I enjoy competing. I love to win. As a young coach and player at Real Madrid, I have the winning mentality."Benitez and the coaching team have won 13 titles, because we have this mentality. I still want to win. Everton was the best place for me because it allowed me to be competitive again, and I had the opportunity to play in every game against anyone.Farhad Moshiri (Everton's majority shareholder) said: "Rafa impressed our great with his knowledge, experience, but above all, the passion, and hunger, he showed to join us. Rafa is being appointed because we believe he can bring success to Evertonians and our Club.To put it simply, we must be at the top of the league and winning trophies. Rafa is an international coach with a lot of experience and is a proven winner. We have found the best man to do that.This appointment is controversial as Benitez, who spent six years at Anfield and won the Champions League, FA Cup, and UEFA Super Cup during that time, was a controversial choice.START DATES 2021-22 FA Community Shield Aug. 7, Ligue 1 starts Aug. 7, UEFA Super Cup Aug. 11, Premier League begins August 14, La Liga begins Aug. 14, Serie A starts Aug. 21, UCL groupstage draw Aug. 26, Transfer window closes Aug. 31, UCL groupstage begins Sept. 14.Benitez, during his time at Liverpool, described Everton "small club." But he later claimed that his comments were misunderstood.This isn't the first time Benitez has been controversial after temporarily taking over Chelsea's rivals Liverpool in 2012.Since January, when he left the Chinese team Dalian Professional, the Spaniard has been unemployed.After leading Valencia to two La Liga titles, and a UEFA Super Cup, Benitez has a remarkable track record of winning trophies as a manager.He won the FIFA Club World Cup with Inter Milan and Coppa Italia, as well as the Coppa italia with Napoli, and the Europa League at Chelsea. Benitez also managed Newcastle United and Real Madrid.Everton is hopeful Benitez will help them lift their first major trophy in 15 years.