Rafa Benitez ‘set to replace Neil Lennon and become Celtic boss’ and battle Gerrard’s Rangers

Rafa Benitez is reportedly set to be appointed manager of Scottish giants Celtic after quitting his job in China.

Benitez this week walked away from his role at Dalian Pro, and is now said to be looking for a quick return to management in British football.

And that return looks set to come at the expense of Neil Lennon, as Celtic prepare to bring the Spanish tactician to Parkhead to turn around their miserable fortunes – according to the Mirror.

Rafa Benitez is reportedly set for a shock move to Celtic after quitting his job in China

Rafa Benitez is reportedly set for a shock move to Celtic after quitting his job in China

It spells bad news for Neil Lennon, who is under pressure with Celtic 23 points behind Rangers

It spells bad news for Neil Lennon, who is under pressure with Celtic 23 points behind Rangers

Lennon has come under increasing pressure this season as Celtic have repeatedly faltered and look set to fail in their bid to make history by claiming a 10th successive title. 

Celtic currently find themselves in a rut and sit a huge 23 points behind arch-rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. 

Steven Gerrard saw his Rangers take the commanding lead at the top of the SPL with a 5-0 over Ross County over the weekend. 

Celtic are desperate to combat the rapid rise of Steven Gerrard's Rangers, who top the division

Celtic are desperate to combat the rapid rise of Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, who top the division

The arrival of Benitez would see the immediate creation of a sizzling rivalry, with the Spaniard well acquainted with his former captain Gerrard from their time spent together at Liverpool. 

Gerrard was captain of the Liverpool side under Benitez and lifted both the Champions League and FA Cup under the command of the Spaniard.

The former England international has repeatedly credited Benitez with being a huge influence on his career and helped to give him an understanding of what it takes to be a manager.

Benitez, who also spent time at the helm of Valencia, Inter Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid, cited the pandemic as being behind his decision to quit a £12million-a-year job in China.

He left Newcastle in the summer of 2019 after failing to agree a new contract with Toon owner Mike Ashley, much to the heartbreak of the St James’s Park faithful.

A master vs apprentice rivalry could soon follow, with Benitez and Gerrard having worked together at Liverpool; winning both Champions League and FA Cup honours

A master vs apprentice rivalry could soon follow, with Benitez and Gerrard having worked together at Liverpool; winning both Champions League and FA Cup honours

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