The Chelsea manager told a Spanish radio station that he relishes the idea of managing Real Madrid or Spain’s national team, but he stopped short of publicly lobbying for either job out of respect for their current managers, Football Espana reports.
Benitez returned to the sidelines in November when he replaced Roberto di Matteo as Chelsea’s interim manager. A vocal segment of the fan base refuses to accept his presence at Stamford Bridge, and the team’s results and performances reportedly have not convinced Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that Benitez is the right man to lead the club into the future.
Benitez admits that he hasn’t had an easy time in West London. He says Chelsea’s hectic schedule has prevented him from having as great an impact on the club as he would have otherwise had, but he takes positives from the team’s attacking displays.
“They are a team in transition and it is not easy getting the right results,” Benitez reportedly told Radio Nacional de Espana. ”The difficult is in trying to get your ideas across but with the drawback of only having so much time in which to do it, because we play two or three games a week.
“A simple fact: we are the team that has played the most games in Europe. But, the team has performed well in many games. We have over 100 goals scored.”
The 52-year-old has spent the better part of the last decade away from Spain, but he remains highly regarded in his homeland. His teams have won domestic, European and world championships during his managerial career, which puts him in consideration for some of the biggest jobs in the country.
Benitez came through the Real Madrid system as a player and began his coaching career at his boyhood club. He says his love for Real Madrid endures to this day, but he was careful not to link himself to the manager’s job even though current boss Jose Mourinho will reportedly part ways with the club after the season.
“As a coach, you always have your sweetheart, he said. I have a link with the fans, I have been treated well there,” he said. “And I came to Madrid when I was 13 and I am of Madrid, but I do not want to get into speculation because my words are always interpreted.
It’s hard to tell where Benitez’s immediate future lies, but he has a long-term ambition to manage Spain’s national team. He hopes success in the challenges to come will make him a prime candidate to guide his country at the international level one day.
“I see La Seleccion [Spain] as a career option, although a little later on. Now I want to work every day,” he said. “The day that [current manager] Vicente del Bosque, who is doing a sensational job, says he will go, then yes. And maybe after a couple more coaches have been in the job. Maybe then I would like to be the coach.
“But, it has to be earned. For that, you have to keep doing things right among the footballing elite.”