Rafael Benitez is amongst the contenders tipped to replace Neil Lennon at Celtic, following the Northern Irishman’s resignation, but his stance on returning to Napoli indicates he won’t be taking over at Parkhead in the immediate future. Lennon has called time on his second stint in charge of the club, with the Hoops 18 points adrift of Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.
Celtic looked to have turned the corner before they were beaten 1-0 at Ross County, in what proved to be the final straw for Lennon.
He apologised after the performance but has now called time on his reign, two years after replacing Brendan Rodgers upon his move to Lennon’s former club Leicester.
Among the bookies’ favourites is former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez, who is currently out of work.
The Spaniard had been in charge of Dalian Pro in the Chinese Super League before leaving in January.
That means if Celtic make a formal approach for the Champions League-winning coach, he is likely to give them the same answer or would at least take some persuading.
Benitez is currently living on Merseyside, where his family home has been since he managed Liverpool.
Given the unpredictable nature of the world right now, Benitez is keen to take his time before deciding his next move.
However, Spanish journalist Guillem Balague claims that Benitez would love to return to Liverpool one day, while pouring cold water over a potential return to Newcastle.
“There is a feeling of unfinished business with Rafa and Liverpool, I’ve always said that,” Balague said in a YouTube Q&A.
“Rafa would love to be the Liverpool manager at some point. Maybe in a time of crisis, proper crisis, not what’s happening now.
“Maybe in a time where there’s a need for a strong personality to steady a ship. But right now in the way that the owners are behaving and Klopp and everything, that situation doesn’t exist.
“How can we think that Klopp has reached the end of an era? Look at the bigger picture, how can anyone suggest that?
“It’s laughable. It’s stupid and absurd to be talking about a future without Klopp.”