Chelsea could make an approach for Rafa Benitez after Roberto Di Matteo's exit following their Champions League defeat at Juventus.
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Chelsea suffered a convincing 3-0 loss on Tuesday night in Turin, meaning they face the infamy of being the first Champions League holders to exit the competition at the group stage.
Di Matteo was appointed as caretaker manager at Stamford Bridge in March 2012 after Andre Villas-Boas' departure, and the Italian's achievements of lifting the Champions League and FA Cup trophies earned him a two-year contract in June.
However, a run of two wins in eight matches in all competitions ramped up the pressure on the former West Brom boss, with Blues owner Roman Abramovich renowned for his ruthlessness when matters are not headed in the direction he wishes.
And, on Wednesday morning, Chelsea announced that manager Di Matteo has parted company with the club, citing in a statement that the results "have not been good enough".
The Times reports that "Abramovich has been in direct contact with Benitez" as the Russian seeks a temporary appointment until the end of the season, amid his interest in securing the long-term services of former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, has been out of work since leaving Inter Milan in December 2010, while Guardiola is currently on a sabbatical following his impressive four years in charge of Barca.
ESPN understands Guardiola is Abramovich's No. 1 target, with the Spaniard approached in the summer only to turn down a reported £20 million-a-year offer.
Ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is also available, but Abramovich has yet to appoint an English manager - and ESPN understands he is unlikely to do so now.