Everton's majority shareholder reveals why he ignored fans' protests to appoint ex-Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez
Everton have confirmed the appointment of former Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez on a three-year contract.
Benitez had been out of management since January after leaving his role at Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro and during that time had spoken of his desire to return to the Premier League.
His arrival at Goodison Park is one of the most controversial in the Toffees’ history given its supporters protested against his appointment, which largely came down to his connection with city rivals Liverpool.
However, Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri highlighted Benitez’s CV, which includes winning the Champions League and league titles across Europe, as the main factor in going against the fans’ wishes.
Moshiri said: “Rafa impressed us greatly with his knowledge and experience but, above all, the passion and hunger he showed to join our club.
“We are appointing Rafa because we believe he will bring success to our Club and to Evertonians.
“To put it simply - we need to be competing at the top-end of the league and to be winning trophies. Rafa is a proven winner with huge experience in coaching internationally and we have secured the best man to achieve that for us.”
Benitez moved to China when his contract on Tyneside expired in the summer of 2019.
He became a much-loved figure with the Toon fanbase during his three-and-a-half years as he guided the club to the Championship title and challenged Mike Ashley’s ownership.
Many United supporters had hoped Benitez would make an emotional return if the Amanda Staveley-brokered takeover is approved but will instead visit as an oppositon boss when Everton make the trip to the North East on Wednesday, February 9.
“I am delighted to be joining Everton”, Benitez said. “Throughout this process I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the club and their desire to bring success to this historic Club.
“I believe this is a Club that is going places. I’m determined to play a big part in helping this great club achieve its ambitions.”
Benitez will retain the services of former Newcastle striker Duncan Ferguson on his backroom staff as he prepares to get to work on July 5.