• Premier League

Rafa predicts Reds return

ESPN staff
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Rafa focused on Chelsea

Rafa Benitez has told Marca he will "almost certainly" manage his former club Liverpool again at some stage.

Current interim Chelsea boss Benitez became Reds manager in 2004, winning the Champions League in 2005 and FA Cup the following year. He left in 2010 after falling out with the club's then owners and finishing seventh in the Premier League.

Asked if he thought he would again manage the club at some point in his career, Benitez replied: "I will return, almost certainly. What I do not know is when. My daughters and wife still live there."

The former Valencia and Inter Milan coach has guided Chelsea to the FA Cup and Europa League semi-finals, and kept the side on track to qualify for next season's Champions League, although he has had to contend with significant protests from Blues fans.

Benitez said he did not know yet where he would work next season, but suggested it could be somewhere in England.

"My idea is to train a competitive team. Why not in England?" Benitez said. "We will have to wait and see. Everything will be worked out."

A return to his former club Real Madrid was also possible, he suggested.

"Obviously I know the place very well - I was there from 13 years old as a player and coach," he said. "I am a Madrid fan. It is nice to be linked in one manner or another, but that does not make me lose my current concentration on Chelsea. I have a good relationship with [Madrid president] Florentino Perez. Whenever I have talked with him, he has always been polite."

Should Benitez replace Jose Mourinho as boss at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, he would rejoin former midfielder Xabi Alonso, whom he controversially sold to Madrid when at Anfield. Any past disagreements would not affect their potential future working relationship, he suggested.

"At Liverpool I had to take some decisions and [Alonso] reacted in his own way," Benitez said. "Each person has their own way of behaving. He is a great player, very important for any team. I cannot say we had a good or bad relationship. It was professional."

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