Sitting 15th in the Premier League and recording just league win since September, Everton parted ways with Rafa Benitez this weekend.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy, and that it was a big challenge, both emotionally and in terms of sport,” Benitez wrote in his officially statement.
“My love for this city, for Merseyside and its people, made me accept this challenge, but it is only when you are inside that you realize the magnitude of the task. From the very first day, my staff and myself worked as we always do, with commitment and full dedication, we didn’t only have to get results, but we also had to win over people’s hearts.”
Everton were on the heels of losing 2-1 to Norwich City, and this decision was a long-time coming for many.
“The road to success isn’t easy and sadly, nowadays in football there is a search for immediate results and there is always less and less patience; unfortunately circumstances have determined the results and it won’t be possible to continue this project,” Benitez added.
“In any case, thank you to the board, to the staff, to the players, and to those fans who have supported us during this time.”
Benitez had the lowest win percentage of any Everton manager to have taken charge of 10 games or more since the turn of the century.
“Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first team manager,” a formal statement from the club read.
“Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the club with immediate effect. An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.”
Everton now enter the post-Benitez era just six points clear of relegation zone.
The latest reports indicate Roberto Martínez, former Everton manager, has again emerged as a candidate for the replacement of Benitez.
Others included in these rumors include: Diego Martínez, José Mourinho, Niko Kovac and Wayne Rooney. Reports suggest Roberto Martínez as the leading candidate.
Everton are back on the pitch next weekend for a league matchup against Aston Villa on Saturday, 22 January.