Benitez brings in Zenden as Chelsea number two

11:17 22 November 2012

Boudewijn Zenden in action for Chelsea. Photo credit: Adam Davy/EMPICS

Boudewijn Zenden in action for Chelsea. Photo credit: Adam Davy/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

Rafael Benitez has appointed Boudewijn Zenden as his assistant manager at Chelsea, according to the Dutchman’s father and agent.

Benitez was named interim boss until the end of the season last night and has now begun the challenge of winning round his new club’s players and fans, something that could be helped by adding a former Blues star to his coaching staff.

Pierre Zenden told Voetbal International his son was on his way to Chelsea.

“He was approached on Wednesday by Benitez and is now on a flight,” he said.

“Since yesterday, he phoned Benitez many times.

“I assume that he will be on the pitch this afternoon, together with the manager.

“I assume he will finish the season, just like Benitez.”

Zenden junior, 36, played for Chelsea between 2001 and 2004 before joining Benitez’s Liverpool. He has never before held a coaching role.

Blues fans were still in shock this morning after owner Roman Abramovich completed arguably his most controversial day yet at Stamford Bridge by appointing Benitez to succeed Roberto Di Matteo.

The Russian handed the former Liverpool boss a contract until the end of the season, having seemingly been unable to woo the man said to be his number one target.

Confirming new “interim” boss Benitez would meet Chelsea’s players today, the European champions said in a statement: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season.

“The owner and the board believe that, in Benitez, we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.”

The length of Benitez’s contract appeared the clearest indication yet of Abramovich’s determination to land Pep Guardiola once the former Barcelona boss completes his one-year sabbatical.

Benitez’s appointment has not been generally well received by Chelsea supporters on social media.

But all that failed to deter Benitez, who agreed his Chelsea contract during a trip to Abu Dhabi and will look to convince them or another big club to give him a longer-term deal.

Benitez’s appeal to Abramovich could be due to his relationship with £50million flop Fernando Torres, who he helped make one of the best strikers in the world at Liverpool.

Benitez told Sport360 shortly before his appointment: “I think you can see in (Torres’) face that he is almost trying too hard.

“But I think the potential is still there.

“The problem with some players is that they are doing so well in a team and the understanding is so good that it is difficult to replicate that in another team.

“Sometimes, it is a question of time, but he is a good player, is keen to learn and is a good professional.”

Di Matteo finally lost patience with Torres in his last match in charge but he expressed few regrets about his unparalleled eight-month tenure last night.

“It was an honour for me to be appointed manager of a club that I loved playing for and one that is so close to my heart,” he said in a statement issued by the League Managers Association.

“I am extremely proud of the successes and trophies that we were able to bring to the club in recent months.

“Lifting Chelsea’s first Champions League trophy, in Munich, was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and manager. It is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.

“I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and of course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and unconditioned support in the intense time I have been the manager at the Bridge. I wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond.”

Related articles

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

As a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing trying your best to scrape through to next week, that is NOT what you want to hear.

Read more

Provided of course, you exercise some careful creativity.

Read more

The Roar singer is known for her off-the-wall fashion sense.

Read more

Promotions

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

Match reports

TOP STORIES

Chelsea Transfer News

Quizzes

Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho go head to head (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Football managers are either deified or chastised, depending on results and they are some of the most famous faces in the country.

Read more
Roy Keane  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Roy Keane denied the world of more glorious beard action this weekend by shaving his famous chin hair off, however football is still littered with some impressive beards.

Read more
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger (Pictures: Getty Images)

London derbies are always eagerly anticipated but few more than when Chelsea and Arsenal meet.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more