Benitez starts at Chelsea but Abramovich still wants Guardiola

Rafael Benitez begins his tenure as interim Chelsea manager on Thursday with a meeting with the players at the club’s Cobham training ground, but the Daily Mail reports that owner Roman Abramovich still intends to appoint Pep Guardiola in the future.

The newspaper adds that Abramovich is willing to pay Guardiola £15m per year, and that a deal has been agreed in principle for the former Barcelona Coach to take over at Stamford Bridge once he brings his sabbatical to an end. Guardiola resigned from the Spanish side at the end of last season.

Benitez has been appointed in the wake of the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, whose services were dispensed with following Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat against Juventus that leaves the team on the brink of becoming the first holders of the Champions League to be eliminated at the group stage. The Spaniard’s appointment has drawn a mixed reaction from Chelsea supporters, the Mail notes.

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