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Benitez back in EPL as new Chelsea 'interim' manager

Published on Nov 22, 2012 6:07 AM
In a file picture taken on Dec 30, 2007 shows Rafa Benitez, then manager of Liverpool, taking his seat before the Premier League football match against Manchester City at The City of Manchester Stadium, north-west England. -- PHOTO : AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Benitez, who returned to the English Premier League management fold on Wednesday after replacing Roberto di Matteo at Chelsea, has at least one thing in common with his Stamford Bridge predecessor.

Namely, a nailbiting Champions League triumph which proved the high watermark of his reign before a parting of the ways.

The difference between the two was that Benitez's fall from grace after his peak in 2005 when Liverpool came from three goals down to beat AC Milan on penalties, came in slow motion.

It was only in 2010 that the 52-year-old Spaniard left Anfield by "mutual consent" after a disappointing seventh place finish in the league and an exit at the group stage of the Champions League - three years on from a second final when the the Milanese exacted revenge.

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