Rafael Benitez is a man of many firsts.
He grew up in Madrid, winning his first football trophy at the age of 12, in the Madrid School Champions competition. At 13 he joined the Real Madrid Academy, rising slowly through the ranks.
While he trained during the day, he gained a degree in Physical Education and was a PE teacher before a knee injury stopped his playing career and he looked to coaching.
He joined Real Madrid's coaching staff at the age of 26 before moving to coach Valencia in the 2001-02 season.
Love affair with Liverpool
Benitez became the first Spaniard to coach in the Premier League, taking over at Liverpool. He brought four trophies to the club including the FA Cup in 2006 and that magic night in Istanbul winning the Champions league in 2007.
But he was unable to win the Premier League, with his best league performance a second-place finish in 2008–09.
But his move to Liverpool was not just about football, he embraced the city and culture and became an 'adopted scouser'.
Family life in Liverpool
Caldy on the Wirral became his family home, where his daughters grew up and the family stayed, as Rafa moved to different clubs.
The entire family has an incredibly tight bond with Liverpool as a city. Rafa has even described both his daughters as 'Scousers.'
His wife Montse earned the nickname ‘The Angel of Kindness’ after supporting local charities, including paying for more than 30 children to go to Disneyland.
The former reds boss and Montse also did the honours opening a new Autism Centre on the Wirral in 2011.
Career after leaving Liverpool
After leaving Liverpool in June 2010 he has managed Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle and, most recently, Dalian Professional.
In January 2021 Benítez announced he had the left the Chinese Super League club by mutual consent.
Reaction to Rafa becoming a blue
Rafa's move to Everton is historic and contentious. Benitez becomes the first man to have managed both Liverpool and Everton since William Edward Barclay in the 1890s.
Everton fans are still smarting from Benitez jibe, calling Liverpool's arch-rivals a "small club" after a goalless derby at Anfield in February 2007.
Addressing comments those comments about Everton, on the day he was confirmed as the Toffees manager, Benitez explained: “I have been in Madrid, Naples, Valencia, Tenerife, Extremadura and Liverpool.
“Every single club I was there, I was fighting for them. If you analyse things in the context, what you are expecting from your manager is to fight for your club, and I will do that.
Everton great Neville Southall has previously said he does not believe former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is the right man to take over at Goodison Park.
From Red to Blue and his pledge to supporters
Rafael Benitez said he was has determined to bring a winning mentality and deliver success for Everton – and said he could see the ambition at the club
“And why a lot of fans in a lot of these cities love me is because I was giving everything for them. If you analyse this in the context, then it is very clear I will do the same for Everton.”
The new Everton boss confirmed Duncan Ferguson will be an important part of his backroom team.
Benitez was Farhad Moshiri own pick, and may be the biggest gamble of his five-year tenure at Goodison.