New Everton manager Rafa Benitez. Everton FC

It's official: Rafa Benitez has been appointed Everton manager

The 61-year-old Spaniard has agreed to take over the Toffees, replacing Carlo Ancelotti.

LAST UPDATE | 30 Jun 2021

RAFAEL BENITEZ HAS been confirmed as the new manager of Everton on a three-year deal.

The 61-year-old Spaniard arrived at the club’s Finch Farm training base to sign on the dotted line on Wednesday morning and becomes the first former Liverpool manager to take charge of their city rivals.

Dubliner William Edward Barclay is the only person to have managed both Merseyside teams, back in the late 1800s.

“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.”

Everton will confirm who will join Duncan Ferguson and former Ireland goalkeeper Alan Kelly as part of Benitez’s backroom team in the coming days.

It is the second time that Benitez has replaced Carlo Ancelotti in a job, previously succeeding the Italian at Real Madrid in 2015. The Toffees hot seat became vacant after Ancelotti agreed to return to the Spanish capital for a second spell at the start of this month.

Benitez’s controversial appointment has not been well received by a section of the fanbase, whose animosity stems from Benitez’s “small club” jibe after a 2007 Merseyside derby, although he has since sought to clarify he was referring to them having the mentality of a small team in their approach to the game.

And former Everton captain Phil Jagielka has warned he faces a “rocky start” at Goodison Park. Jagielka said the best way for Benitez to win over the dissenters was to make a big impact early on.

“He will need to get off to a fast start and make a couple of marquee signings to smooth over, potentially, a little bit of a rocky start,” he told Sky Sports News.

If he gets a good start and the right results they will get behind him because that’s the sort of club Everton is.

“The hierarchy at Everton have decided to go with Rafa, it is a controversial decision to say the least.

“If we take away what club he used to manage and that side of history, as a coach and a manager he has performed at the top level.

“They are getting a very competent man in – the only issue is there will be elements within the Evertonian family who won’t be happy seeing him in the dugout.”

- With additional reporting from Ben Blake

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