Rafa Benitez ostensibly rules out any misplaced Celtic hopes

By Euan Davidson

April 28, 2021

It might be a bit of a pipe dream, but Rafa Benitez to Celtic talk is still rumbling away. That’s despite Benitez showing no indication of wanting the job at Paradise.

The Champions League winner with Liverpool, Europa League winner with Chelsea and La Liga champion with Valencia is in high demand. The momentum seems to be behind Benitez returning to Newcastle United, yet Celtic appear to still be in the frame. To what extent, however, is unclear.

It seems, though, that Benitez is more keen on a return to Napoli, where he spent two seasons. That was followed by a less successful stint at Real Madrid, before Newcastle and then DL Pro came calling.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Benitez flirted with a few options. He said [Sky Italia]:

“The memory of Naples is fantastic, as well as the relationship I had with the city and the fans.

“I spent two years in which Juve dominated, and we have won two titles. De Laurentiis? He is a visionary.

“I like to compete, I like to win; however at the same time I can work with young people because I am a ‘professor’. In Spain, at the moment, it is not possible to think about carrying out a project and trying to win something. In Italy and England, on the other hand, it can be done.”

Rafa Benitez: a hands-on coach / (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

Surely the end of Rafa Benitez to Celtic chat

While Rafa Benitez to Celtic has been talked up by a number of pundits, it still always seemed unlikely. Presumably, the Bhoys board would baulk at the high wages the former Real Madrid boss would demand for his services.

Now, with him openly courting a move to Italy or England, the long, long odds any Celtic supporter might’ve had for Benitez to come to Glasgow have surely dissipated.

In an ideal world, Benitez might’ve been the kind of coach for Celtic to return to dominance, before handing off to a younger manager for a smooth transition. However, it never seemed on, and now it looks nigh-on impossible.

Stranger things have happened, but it’s pretty safe to rule this out now.

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