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Benítez sounded out by Valencia

Los Che have enquired about the ex-Real Madrid coach's willingness to take charge at Mestalla next term. Gary Neville is expected to see out the season.
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Football Soccer - Real Madrid v Real Sociedad - Spanish Liga BBVA - Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain - 30/12/15 Real Madrid's coach Rafael Benitez reacts during the match REUTERS/Juan Medina

Valencia have made enquiries over Rafa Benítez's willingness to take over as head coach next season, with Los Che sporting director Jesús García Pitarch sounding out the former Real Madrid boss through his agent, Manuel García Quirón.

Pitarch and Benítez also worked together during Benítez's successful spell as Valencia coach between 2001 and 2004, with the ex-Liverpool manager given a warm reception by the Mestalla crowd on his return to the ground in charge of Real.

Pitarch's interest is not limited to Benítez, with the director also running the rule over other potential coaches. However, Valencia's exploration of the market is not a direct consequence of Wednesday's 7-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Indeed, the club's enquiries took place beforehand.

Right now, there is no decision over what will happen with Gary Neville. It seems certain that he will not resign - speaking after the Barça loss, he was adamant he wouldn't - while there are no indications that the club will act on his future before Sunday's clash at Real Betis. But depending on that result, what comes afterwards is unclear.

The ideal scenario for Valencia and García Pitarch would be for the team to get sufficiently back on track in La Liga under Neville to climb away from the danger they are increasingly drifting towards. This would allow the Englishman, under contract until June, to see out his deal, and enable the arrival of another coach with whom García Pitarch could take time to plan for the future.

On the other hand, if after the Betis game drastic action has to be taken over Neville, matchday delegate Salvador González, known as Voro, and reserve team boss Curro Torres are two in-house options.

Were Benítez to return to Mestalla, there would be no shortage of Valencia fans happy to see him back.


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