Rafa Benitez has as good as bought his one-way ticket to Spain and printed his boarding pass after his post-match comments following the 2-0 FA Cup victory over Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening.

Following the game, Benitez took a dig at both the club hierarchy and its fans, claiming that he has not been helped out during his time at the helm.

But the fact remains - results under Benitez have not been satisfactory, as the club have slipped from four points off top spot to 19, crashed out of the League Cup, and were totally outplayed in the Club World Cup final.

With Benitez's departure a matter of when, not if, GiveMeFootball takes a look at five possible replacements for the 52-year-old Spaniard.

David Moyes | Everton

A logical pick, Moyes has proven that he has what it takes to transform a club’s mentality. Although Everton have been a mainstay in the Premier League, Moyes took charge of the club when the Toffees were languishing near the relegation zone back in 2002.

In 13 years at Goodison Park, Moyes has made Everton into a stable club consistently pushing for European football, despite having minimal funds at his disposal compared to his counterparts at Stamford Bridge.

Moyes is out of contract in the summer and would certainly become a favourite with the Stamford Bridge faithful should he take the reigns.

Diego Simeone | Atletico Madrid

The great Argentine defensive midfielder has done superbly since taking charge of his former club in 2011. He led Los Colchoneros to Europa League glory last season and a 4-1 scalp of Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup in August.

Simeone has Atletico punching above their weight as they sit second in La Liga and are in the final of the Copa del Rey, where they will come up against city rivals Real Madrid.

Despite having world-class talent in Radamel Falcao and on-loan Chelsea ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois, Atletico are not laden with the talent and funds that Chelsea possess.

With a growing CV as a manger in Spain, Simeone would be a wise choice for Roman Abramovich.

Antonio Conte | Juventus

Conte has done a phenomenal job at Juventus, leading the Old Lady to their first Serie A title since the Calciopoli scandal of 2006 that demoted Juventus to Serie B.

Pundits could not foresee Juventus winning a league title so shortly after demotion but Conte has assembled a strong side that is quickly returning to the top of European football.

With Conte at the helm, Chelsea would be playing that slick passing football that Roman so desperately craves.

Gianfranco Zola | Watford

A former Blues legend, Zola has been doing an admirable job at Watford in the Championship this campaign, transforming a side that finished in mid-table last season to a team competing for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Zola’s Watford side play some of the best football in the division, having scored more goals than any other side so far this campaign.

The Italian would certainly be the fans’ choice as next Blues manager and after the terrible relationship between Benitez and club's supporters, the Chelsea faithful need the feel-good factor to return to Stamford Bridge.

Not enough can be said of the supporters’ admiration of Zola and he may just get his chance in what would be an emotional return to west London for the former West Ham United manager.

Manuel Pellegrini | Malaga

The former Real Madrid gaffer led Malaga to their highest finish in La Liga last season, and qualified for the Champions League in the process, finishing first in their group, above the likes of AC Milan and Zenit St Petersburg.

In his season at Real Madrid, his side achieve the highest points total in La Liga in the club’s storied history, finishing on 96 points, but still finished second behind rivals Barcelona.

Pellegrini has an astute understanding of the game and his side is one of the toughest defences to break down in Europe.

With Pellegrini at the helm, Stamford Bridge would become the fortress it once was and he may be able to lure midfield star Isco from the cash-strapped club in the process.

Think we left someone off the list of potential candidates? Have your say by leaving a comment below.


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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