Everton chief Marcel Brands ‘vigorously opposed’ Rafa Benitez as new club manager

Rafa Benitez’s appointment as Everton manager is thought to have been ‘vigorously opposed’ by director of football Marcel Brands.

Ex-Liverpool boss Benitez arrived at Finch Farm on Wednesday for his first day on the job after agreeing a three-year deal to succeed Carlo Ancelotti.

But he walked straight into a boardroom controversy, as Brands was not there to welcome him.

Benitez received a hearty welcome from Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri, who along with principal investor Alisher Usmanov was responsible for appointing the 61-year-old amid an angry backlash from fans.

Brands was later said to be “isolating after a business trip” – but his name was absent from the statement welcoming Benitez, which was issued in mid afternoon.

And he is believed to have been ‘vigorously opposed’ to handing Benitez the job, according to The Mirror.

Everton confirmed there would be a statement from Brands, but that was not issued until after 6pm – and it didn’t exactly read like an enthusiastic welcome.

“One of my most important strengths is that a manager can trust me, that I will always be honest,” said the Dutchman, 59.

“Integrity is, for me, a key word in working with people together – not only with the manager but also with the people around me. I’m someone people can rely on and that’s what I will also do with Rafa.”

Brands had previously been given full rein over Everton’s transfer business, but it is understood Benitez has been told by Moshiri and Usmanov that he will decide on his own signings.

Giving his first interview as Everton boss, Benitez said he had already been in touch with Brands and suggested he had decided on targets already.

“I have already been in contact with him (Brands).” said Benitez. “I have the plan (for Everton’s summer transfer business).”

It remains to be seen what Benitez’s appointment means for Brands, who took charge as director of football in 2018.

But it seems he was not the only one who opposed the appointment of Benitez, with The Mirror reporting that most of the club’s board were against Moshiri’s decision.

The owner’s choice has also been met with fury from some fans, after Benitez once called Everton “a small club” while in charge of fierce city rivals Liverpool.

Benitez was Reds boss between 2004 and 2010, and led the club to Champions League and FA Cup success.

He won two La Liga titles with Valencia, the Europa League during a spell as interim Chelsea boss, and the Club World Cup with Inter Milan.

He also managed Real Madrid, and guided Newcastle into the Premier League in 2017.

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