Benitez takes over Chelsea hot seat until the end of the season
November 21, 2012 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
Rafael Benitez will take immediate charge of Chelsea after the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.
- Chelsea appoint Rafael Benitez as interim manager until end of the season
- Benitez replaces the sacked Roberto Di Matteo
- Benitez has enjoyed success at Valencia and Liverpool
- Di Matteo departed after 3-0 defeat to Juventus Tuesday
(CNN) -- Chelsea moved quickly to replace the sacked Roberto Di Matteo Wednesday as Rafael Benitez was appointed as interim manager until the end of the season.
The English Premier League side made the announcement on their official website, just hours after the departure of Di Matteo, who had led them to European Champions League glory for the first time earlier this year.
Former Valencia and Liverpool manager Benitez will be thrown in at the deep end, with Chelsea taking on EPL reigning champions and leaders Manchester City Sunday.
"The owner and the Board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives," read the club statement.
In Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives
"The 52-year-old Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham tomorrow (Thursday)," it added.
Read: Cech wants 'racism saga' sorted
Benitez, who will be the ninth manager under owner Roman Abramovich, has been out of work since being sacked by Inter Milan in December 2010.
He guided Valencia to two Spanish titles and the UEFA Cup and spent six years at Liverpool, highlighted by their Champions League triumph in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007.
Former Barcelona manager Pepe Guardiola has been linked with the Chelsea job, but is currently on a year-long sabbatical after leaving the Catalan giants at the end of last season.
Di Matteo, who also won the FA Cup with Chelsea during his brief spell in charge, paid the price for a poor recent run of results, culminating in a 3-0 defeat to Juventus Tuesday which leaves their participation in the knockout stages of this season's Champions League in considerable doubt.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.