4 Jun 2015

Benitez takes over at Real

5:48 am on 4 June 2015

Rafa Benitez has been appointed Real Madrid coach for the next three seasons, taking on one of the most demanding jobs in club football and one in which he will be expected to deliver major trophies in short order.

The newly named Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez.

The newly named Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 55-year-old Spaniard quit Napoli last week and takes over from Italian Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked after a campaign when Real failed to either defend their Champions League crown or win the domestic league or Cup.

A former Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan and Chelsea manager, Benitez began his coaching career in Real's youth academy in 1986 after injury ended his hopes of becoming a professional player.

He is the 10th coach to be appointed by president Florentino Perez during the construction magnate's two six-year stints at the helm of the world's richest club by income.

Benitez, who Real said was "a man who embodies success, experience and the Real Madrid spirit", will not be given time to bed in at Real and Perez will expect immediate results.

Ancelotti was dismissed 12 months after ending 12 years of Champions League failure by leading Real to a record-extending 10th European crown in 2013-14.

After leaving Real, Benitez graduated to several modest teams in Spain as he developed his coaching philosophy.

He made his name with Valencia whom he led to two La Liga titles before leaving for Liverpool, where he won the FA Cup and the Champions League.

After leaving the Merseyside club he moved on to Inter Milan but was sacked just three months into the 2010-11 season.

The former Chelsea coach had mixed fortunes during his last job with Napoli.

Napoli won the Coppa Italia last term and finished third in Serie A but lost to Lazio in Benitez's last match in charge to finish fifth in Serie A, outside the Champions League qualifying places.

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