Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed that he will not be remaining with the West London club after the completion of the 2012-13 season.
The news comes via Sky Sports' Twitter account:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
Rafael Benitez says he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season #SSN2/27/2013, 10:18:26 PM
Eurosport also reports that the Blues' manager went on an angry tirade after the match against the club's fans and why he will not be staying at the club:
Eurosport UK @Eurosport_UK
BREAKING: Rafael Benitez delivers a furious rant at the Chelsea fans and will leave the club at the end of the season http://t.co/H9m5U7uml42/27/2013, 10:43:53 PM
Benitez's full tirade was captured via BBC Radio 5live (h/t Goal):
I'm a little bit disappointed with a group of fans singing, and I think they are not doing any favours for the team. They have to support the team instead of wasting time making banners and singing songs, and create a good atmospere at Stamford Bridge.
They have to support the players. I am an experienced manager, and I will do my best until the last day. They gave me the title of 'Interim Manager'. It's a massive mistake. I'm the manager, and I will manage the team until the end, every single minute.
If they want to carry on wasting time because they have an agenda, they have to accept responsibility when something is wrong [...].
At the end of the season I will leave, they don't have to worry about me.
All they have to do is to support the team, support the players. It is a group of people who have an agenda. They have to realise the rest of the fans want to see the team in the Champions League next year. It's not about whether I'm right or wrong. We have to see the team in the Champions League next year.
Benitez was only hired as the Blues' manager on an interim basis after the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo for failure to qualify from the UEFA Champions League—something that Blues fans are no doubt wishing that Roman Abramovich had never done.
Since the start of his tenure, Benitez has come under heavy fire from Blues supporters and critics for being unable to get the job done with a world-class squad.
Under Benitez, the Blues have crashed out in the Champions League, the Capital One Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. They are 19 points behind in the English Premier League race and in a real fight just to finish inside the top four—dropping points against several bottom teams in the process.
The two tournaments that they are still alive in—the FA Cup and the Europa League—both saw the Blues push through to the next round with less-than-impressive performances. The fact that both of those came against teams that they really should have beaten just reinforced the point.
Benitez has not done a good job at the Blues, he has not been welcomed at the club either, and it's little wonder that he is leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the year.
It's a far cry from the long-term vision he originally had at Chelsea, telling The Telegraph back in late January about his desire to remain at the club:
I want to be at a top side and Chelsea is a top side with great potential. It is a great opportunity. My contract is clear but you don’t know.
The way to have a better view of the future is to win the next game. I have had conversations with the people in charge and the owner.
Benitez will have become the ninth manager to leave Chelsea since Abramovich took over as owner, with his ruthless desire to win largely to blame for that.
Yet as it stands, this one is not the fault of Abramovich, with Benitez's inconsistencies and failures well-noted by all. It's the fact that he hasn't won over the fans, hasn't got Fernando Torres and hasn't won consecutive league games since the start of 2013 that has cost him his job here.
It's not because of the trigger-happy finger of Abramovich. Chelsea fans can blame only one man for Benitez leaving the club, and that's Benitez.
Though, as it stands, many Blues fans won't mind that at all.
In fact, they've been calling for it for weeks.
Is Rafa Benitez right to step down from Chelsea at the end of the year?
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