Paul John Dykes has been speaking on a recent edition of the A Celtic State of Mind podcast about all things relating to Celtic.
Guillem Balague thinks Benitez is not a contender for replacing Neil Lennon, but Dykes revealed that the 60-year-old was a contender for the Celtic job before the Bhoys appointed Lennon again.
He said: (42:22) “Neil Lennon didn’t know he was getting the job before the Scottish Cup final .
“There had been various meetings, and there was somebody in the frame who they were talking to and that somebody was Rafa Benitez. So Celtic were in discussions with Rafa.
“The players around about that time, as is the way, had heard that Rafa Benitez was in the frame and there was a sense of deflation when it didn’t happen. I am not going to say there was a sense of deflation when Neil Lennon was appointed.
“If you think the previous manager has been Brendan Rodgers, then Rafa comes in, and you look at the honours that guy has won all over Europe in various different countries; wherever he’s gone, apart from China, he’s done really, really well.
“Senior players were asked as part of the process, and they were all for Rafa Benitez coming in. He decided at the last minute that it wasn’t happening; Rafa Benitez decided that.”
Do you think Benitez will ever become Celtic boss?
Yes, he will one day
No, not a chance
TIF Thoughts on Benitez and Celtic…
If what Dykes says is true, then Benitez was a contender to become the Celtic boss before Peter Lawwell decided to make Lennon the permanent manager in May 2019.
However, it looks like the Spaniard changed his mind and if what Balague says is true, he hasn’t changed his mind on the Bhoys job and will not be replacing Lennon.
Given what Benitez has achieved in the game and having once been dubbed as one of the best managers in the world, as well as securing the Champions League with Liverpool and managing the likes of Real Madrid, Napoli, Chelsea and Inter Milan, you would imagine he could have been a brilliant appointment for Celtic, but it looks like it is going to be a case of what could have been?
It is interesting that Benitez was apparently in the frame for the Celtic job but for whatever reason decided that it wasn’t for him.