London, Nov 22(ANI): Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has appointed former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez as Blues' interim manager for the remaining season after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked on Wednesday following Champions League hammering at the hands of Juventus.
The Spaniard will start working at Chelsea on Thursday after being installed as the short-term successor to Di Matteo in perhaps the most remarkable appointment of Abramovich's nine-year reign at Stamford Bridge, the Telegraph reports.
Benitez, who established himself as a hate figure at Stamford Bridge during six seasons at Anfield marked by intense rivalry between the clubs, boarded a flight in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night having agreed the deal, and will meet the Chelsea squad at Cobham on Thursday morning, the paper added.
The appointment, which was greeted with vocal objections from Chelsea supporters groups, comes after Abramovich tried and failed to persuade Pep Guardiola to cut short his one-year sabbatical and succeed Di Matteo, fired after the 3-0 defeat to Juventus in Turin, it said.
Instead Abramovich turned to Benitez, already selected as his fallback position, to try to steady Chelsea's recent wobble and ensure that the club do not miss out on Champions League football next season, it concluded. (ANI)