Rafa Benitez hints at interest from Real Madrid

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Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez believes he could be a target for Real Madrid in the summer, if his spell at Stamford Bridge finishes at the end of the season, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The Spanish coach has not entirely given up hope of landing the full-time post in west London, but with recent results heaping further pressure on Benitez, the possibility of winning Roman Abramovich's long-term approval appears increasingly slim.

While there has been no direct contact from Real Madrid, the Blues boss has had enough encouragement from third-party sources to believe that he will be in club president Florentino Perez's thoughts in the summer if, as expected, Jose Mourinho is shown the door.

In the meantime, Benitez remains fully committed to Chelsea and the twin tasks of securing Champions League football by finishing in the top four in the Premier League, and attempting to win silverware in one of the three remaining cup competitions - the Capital One Cup, the FA Cup, and the Europa League - the club are still involved in.

However, the fact that the 52-year-old's advisers are already considering their options beyond the end of 2012/13 reflects the instability of his position at the Chelsea helm.

The prospect of Benitez succeeding Mourinho - who was unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in his three years at Chelsea - at Real Madrid, after the Blues lost successive home games to QPR and Swansea, following Wednesday night's League Cup semi-final first leg defeat, may seem fanciful to hostile fans in west London.

But the former Valencia, Liverpool and Inter Milan coach thinks otherwise, and hinted publicly before Christmas that he could be a target for Real Madrid, the club where he began his coaching career.

Asked on Spanish radio to confirm that there was interest from the Santiago Bernabeu in his services, Benitez said: "I know things but I think I shouldn't say."

With only five months of his Chelsea contract to run, and Abramovich seemingly intent on tempting Pep Guardiola to Stamford Bridge, it's understandable that Benitez's representatives have turned their attention to what their client's next move might be.

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