Rafael Benitez has told AS that an opportunity to stay close to his family was one of the reasons why he took the Everton job.

The Spaniard spent six years at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, and guided them to the Champions League success in his debut season at Anfield.

His spell with Reds saw his family settle in Merseyside and when Everton came calling in 2021, the 63-year-old accepted the job for both personal and sporting reasons.

The Toffees were forced to look for a new manager that summer after Carlo Ancelotti left them to return to Real Madrid.

Benitez was appointed as the Italian’s successor but his stay at Goodison Park was cut short in January 2022, after a series of poor results. Everton managed only one win in his last 13 league games.

When AS asked how a Liverpool legend ended up at Everton, he said: “I have many friends who are from Everton and I knew what I needed. It was a chance to be with family.”

“The problem is that after three years of bypassing financial control, we were only able to spend 1.7m [likely euros] that year. Of course, I came to doubt for sentimental reasons, you think about it a lot, but it was the possibility of making a team grow and many years had passed since my time at Liverpool.”

After his exit from Everton, Benitez returned to management, taking charge at Celta Vigo in the summer.

The La Liga side have managed only one win from 13 league games this season and are currently in the relegation zone.