Everton have appointed Rafa Benitez as the next manager of the Toffees on a three-year deal.
Benitez, 61, takes over at Goodison Park 29 days after Carlo Ancelotti’s surprise departure for Real Madrid, having been Liverpool manager between 2004 and 2010.
Indeed, he becomes only the second man to manage both Liverpool and Everton after William Edward Barclay in the late 19th century.
On his appointment, Benitez had this to say:
“I am delighted to be joining Everton. Throughout this process I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the club and their desire to bring success to this historic club.
“I believe this is a club that is going places. I’m determined to play a big part in helping this great club achieve its ambitions.”
His appointment has not been without controversy, with a sizeable portion of the Blues fanbase vehemently against his hiring due to his links across Stanley Park as well as comments he made about the Toffees being a ‘small club’ when he was in charge at Anfield.
The Spaniard has attempted previously to soothe frayed nerves in the Everton camp about those comments, and was even in consideration when the job was last vacant after Marco Silva was sacked 18 months ago.
Speaking about Benitez joining the club, majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri said:
“Rafa impressed us greatly with his knowledge and experience but, above all, the passion and hunger he showed to join our club.
“We are appointing Rafa because we believe he will bring success to our club and to Evertonians. To put it simply - we need to be competing at the top-end of the league and to be winning trophies. Rafa is a proven winner with huge experience in coaching internationally and we have secured the best man to achieve that for us.”
Chairman Bill Kenwright added:
“Rafa Benitez is joining Everton Football Club at an exciting time. On behalf of the Board of Directors I wish him well in achieving success for our football club - success our supporters long for and deserve.”
Benitez’s first competitive game in charge of Everton will be against Southampton at Goodison, when their 2021-22 Premier League campaign gets underway on August 14.
Everton have confirmed Duncan Ferguson and Alan Kelly will remain on the club’s backroom staff with an update about further appointments to be announced in the coming days.