Everton part ways with Rafa Benitez, shortlist Martinez and Rooney for the job

(Football news) Premier League club Everton have parted ways with their manager Rafa Benitez after just six and a half months in charge following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Norwich City. The Spaniard departed from the club alongside Francisco de Miguel Moreno, Antonio Gomez, Jamie Harley and Cristian Fernandez from the first-team technical staff. The Toffees have won just one game in the league since September and are currently in 15th place, just six points above the relegation zone. 

In a statement released on his personal website, Rafa Benitez said “We knew it wouldn't be easy, and that it was a big challenge, both emotionally and in terms of sport. My love for this city, for Merseyside and its people, made me accept this challenge, but it is only when you are inside that you realise the magnitude of the task. From the very first day, my staff and myself worked as we always do, with commitment and full dedication, we didn't only have to get results, but we also had to win over people's hearts.

"However, the financial situation and then the injuries that followed made things even harder. I am convinced that we would have been better once the injured players were back and with the arrival of the new signings. The road to success isn't easy and sadly, nowadays in football there is a search for immediate results and there is always less and less patience; unfortunately circumstances have determined the results and it won't be possible to continue this project. In any case, thank you to the Board, to the staff, to the players, and to those fans who have supported us during this time."

It was never going to be easy for Benitez at Everton, especially considering his history as manager at fierce rivals Liverpool. The Everton fans went as far as displaying a banner calling for his exit after the Toffees lost to Norwich at Carrow Road as well as during a 3-2 win over Hull City in the FA Cup third-round. The Everton management has said that “an update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course” with plenty of names being linked to the job such as Belgium national team’s manager Roberto Martinez, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.

Roberto Martinez has already spent three years at Goodison Park from 2013 to 2016 but with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon, it might be a complicated appointment as the Belgium FA would want him to stay. Wayne Rooney is another interesting candidate linked to the job, currently serving as manager for Derby County, the 36 year old is a boyhood Everton fan who has come through their academy and spent the 2017/18 season at the club after returning from Old Trafford.

Frank Lampard, Duncan Ferguson, Graham Potter and Rudi Garcia are also linked to the job. Both Lampard and Garcia may be more attainable appointments as they are currently out of a job while Ferguson also has a long-standing association at the club. Potter might be a complicated appointment as he is contractually tied up with Brighton and is happy where he is.

Also read: Robert Lewandowski and Alexia Putellas take top honours in FIFA Awards


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