Real Madrid are my 'sweetheart', claims Chelsea interim boss Benitez

The Spaniard is only contracted at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season and has been mentioned as a possible successor to Jose Mourinho, who looks set to leave los Blancos

Rafa Benitez has expressed his affection for Real Madrid, amid rumours that may be one of the favourites to replace Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Chelsea interim boss was part of Vincente del Bosque’s back-room team during his tenure with los Blancos before becoming a manager with Real Valladolid.

Benitez has since gone on to find particular success with Valencia and Liverpool and insists he is only focused on bringing similar joy to Stamford Bridge before the end of the current campaign.

He told Radio Nacional de Espana: “I have a contract [with Chelsea] until the end of the season and I am going to do everything possible for this club to have the best success.

“Real Madrid have a determined manager with a contract and this deserves respect. As a manager, you always have your sweetheart. I have a link with the fans and they have treated me well.

“I arrived at [Real] Madrid when I was 13-years-old and I’m from Madrid. But I don’t want to get involved in this speculation because my words aren’t always interpreted.”

The 52-year-old also refused to rule out coaching the Spanish national team in years to come, but knows he will have to impress if he is to land such a role.

He added: “I can’t rule out one day becoming national coach when Vicente [del Bosque] leaves. It’s something I will look at in the future, although for this I have to continue in elite football and keep doing things well.”

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