Everton has appointed Rafael Benitez their new manager, on a three year deal.
After the Italian quit his position to return to Real Madrid, Benitez (61), is now Carlo Ancelotti's successor in Goodison Park.
Everton stated in a club statement that the Spaniard's selection was the result of a "robust and broad-reaching recruitment process" that spanned three weeks. This included "multiple interviews with multiple candidates".
Benitez stated that he was delighted to join Everton. "Throughout this process, I was impressed by the ambition displayed by senior club representatives and their determination to bring success to this historical club.
"I believe that this club is on the right track to success. "I'm determined to play a major role in helping this club reach its goals."
2 - Rafael Bentez is the only manager to have ever taken charge of Everton and Liverpool during the clubs' history. He succeeds William Edward Barclay who was Everton’s first manager in 1888, and Liverpool's first in 1892. Crossing. pic.twitter.com/YrlRG13IXt OptaJoe [@OptaJoe] June 30, 2021
Benitez left Liverpool in 2010 and has since managed Inter Milan, Chelsea (and Napoli), Real Madrid, Newcastle and the most recent Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional.
After news broke that Benitez had been named the club's top target, Everton fans have had mixed reactions to the news.
On Monday, a threatening banner with the message "We know where you live", placed near Benitez's Wirral home prompted a Merseyside police investigation.
Everton met with Nuno Espirito Sante, the former Wolves head coach and expressed interest in David Moyes, their former manager.
1:28 Everton supporters are still divided about Rafael Benitez, former Liverpool manager, being appointed their new manager, Sky Sports' News' Vinny Olson reports.
Roberto Martinez, Belgium boss - Another ex-Toffees manager. Lille's Ligue 1 champion coach Christophe Galtier was also believed to be on their shortlist. Eddie Howe was also reported to have been included.
1:32 Former Everton striker Steven Naismith believes Rafael Benitez's appointment is'slightly contentious. He needs to get off on a positive note.
Rafa is a 'proven winner'
Benitez will have Duncan Ferguson and Alan Kelly as part of his backroom team. Additional members will be announced in the coming days.
When Everton returns for pre-season training, Benitez will be joining the Everton team.
0:59 Rafael Benitez arrives on Everton's Training Ground ahead of his appointment to the club's new Manager
Farhad Moshiri, Everton's majority shareholder, said that Rafa impressed them greatly with his knowledge, experience, but most importantly, the passion and hunger he displayed to join our club.
We are pleased to appoint Rafa as our Evertonians' coach because we know he will bring success. Simply put, we must be at the top of the league and winning trophies.
"Rafa has a track record of success and is an international coach with a lot of experience. We have found the best man to do that for us."
Image: Benitez claims Everton are "going places" as a club
Under Ancelotti, Everton placed 10th in Premier League. They missed out on European qualification by 3 points. The FA Cup was the last trophy that Everton won in 1995.
Bill Kenwright, club chairman, said: "Rafa Benitez has joined Everton Football Club in an exciting time. The board of directors wishes him success in his pursuit of success for our football club, which is what our supporters desire and deserve.
Everton's 2021-22 campaign starts at home to Southampton. The first round of fixtures is scheduled for the weekend of August 14-15.
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds
"Rafa Benitez is sensitive to the feelings of Everton fans, who made it clear they oppose his appointment as manager.
"But, applying for the job and accepting the position, the Spaniard believes he can win over his doubters with the results on the pitch. Benitez's appointment comes 11 years after leaving Liverpool where he was manager for six years, winning the Champions League as well as the FA Cup.
"Benitez was convinced of the club's potential and rejected offers from two Serie A clubs, with a return in the Premier League his priority." Here is the list that awaits him at Goodison Park.
Image: Many Evertonians are happy to hear that Rafa Benitez could soon be appointed the club's new manager
Alan Myers, Sky Sports News:
"Shocking decision." "I'm done with them." "They have betrayed their fans."
"These are just some of the reactions of Everton fans to Rafa Benitez's appointment as Goodison Park manager.
"Officially, football fans can be overly passionate at times. The Merseyside rivalry, to put it mildly, is intense and this is the first ever time that someone has managed both clubs. This appointment was always going be controversial and would provoke a strong backlash from Everton fans.
"However, we can take the emotion and heat out of the decision and the more considered opinion that many around Everton Football Club are that it is an unneeded appointment, there were other applicants who would not have to endure the same level of scrutiny or pressure as this one.