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Benitez looks a cert for Atletico job after latest developments

| 19.04.2011

Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez looks certain to be in charge of Atletico Madrid next season as the fall-out between Atletico manager Quique Sanchez Flores and star striker Diego Forlan continues to affect the club.

Last night we confirmed that Benitez was being lined up for the job should Sanchez Flores and Atletico Madrid part ways at the end of the season, but Madrid paper Marca have reported this morning that Sanchez Flores has told Atletico he will not be there next season.

Benitez has been without a job since being sacked by Inter Milan in December and the former Valencia manager is seen by the Atletico fans as the perfect replacement for Sanchez Flores.

Benitez has gained 34.7 per cent of 32,000 votes in the ‘Who should replace Sanchez Flores’ poll hosted by Marca, with Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique second with 23.4 per cent.

Atletico have won just five games since the turn of the year and find themselves seventh in La Liga which has left Sanchez Flores under pressure, and his handling of the Forlan affair has left the Spaniard in a precarious position.

Atletico find themselves 11 points behind Villarreal in fourth place and dreams of Champions League football seem a distant hope, but Europa League football is a strong possibility should Atletico finish the season strongly.

Sanchez Flores’ side host Levante on Sunday and are 8/15 to win and Levante have never won in five visits to the Vicente Calderon.

Currently level on points with Sevilla in six but with a poorer goal difference, the battle for the Europa League spots are tight with Atheltic Bilbao just a point ahead of Atletico and Sevilla in fifth.

Atletico have a relatively easy final six games of the season and Benitez would be fancied to guide Atletico to Europa League success next season.

A £10 stake on Atketico beating Levante 2-1 would return £80. New customers can sign up here to receive a free football bet worth up to £30.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.