Rafael Benítez Maudes, known more commonly as simply Rafa or the fat Spanish waiter, is being strongly linked to the soon-to-be-vacant Stoke City job. In fact the soon-to-be-former interim boss of Chelsea is the 5/2 favourite to take over from Tony Pulis.
Stoke City chairman Peter Coates clearly feels that it’s time for a change at the Britannia Stadium. He no doubt appreciates Pulis’ excellent job at getting Stoke in to the Premier League and comfortably keeping them there for five straight season. But now he wants more. If the rumour mill is to be trusted, Coates believes Rafa Benitez is the man to give him more.
Fresh of securing third place in the league and winning the Europa League with Chelsea, one would think that Rafa would be linked with a more glamorous position than Stoke. No offence to Stoke fans but your club may be many things but glamorous is not one of them.
- Rafa has two La Ligas, a Champions League, two UEFA Cup/Europa League trophies and an FA Cup on his CV. His name has been mentioned, if only faintly, in the conversations surrounding bigger jobs at far bigger clubs.
His stock was damaged by his short and very unsuccessful spell at Inter Milan, where he struggled to follow Jose Mourinho, who had led the club to Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia treble the previous season.
He then hung around Liverpool for a couple of years, trying not to look desperate but failing badly. He must have been at least a little desperate to take over at Chelsea last November, following Roberto Di Matteo’s unceremonious sacking. The former Liverpool boss was reviled by Blues supporters when he arrived at the club. Now, after leading them to Europa League victory and Champions League qualification, he’s only reviled by some of them and mildly disliked by the rest.
With his reputation restored Rafa could certainly hold out for a more glamorous position than Stoke. However he has stated on many occasions that he likes living in England and remaining here is his main priority:
“England is my priority because my family is here, but there are not too many top sides so there could be two different options. It could be a project where you could build something for the future or it could be a top side where you could compete straight away for trophies, so we will see.”
The only two jobs available are Everton and Stoke. Considering the reception he received when he arrived at Stamford Bridge, maybe Stoke is the more appealing option right now.