London, Mar 12 (ANI): Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is all set to become Real Madrid's new boss after club's Champions League defeat at the hands of Lyon.
The Spanish giants will sack Manuel Pellegrini in the summer and Benitez is the front-runner on a shortlist of Real president Florentino Perez that also includes Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
A top Real source said: "Rafa is the preferred choice. He is a Madrid man and his agent, Manuel Garcia Quillon, has an excellent relationship with the club."
"Above all, though, his record in Europe is exceptional. The club wants to return where they believe they belong - to be the No 1 team in Europe again. They believe Rafa is the man to make that happen," The Sun quoted the source, as saying.
Polls show that Mourinho would be a hugely unpopular appointment with four out of five fans against his coming to Madrid.
Perez rates Ancelotti very highly but knows it would be impossible to prise him away from Chelsea.
Benitez was a coach at Real Madrid's academy at the start of his career and has not hidden the fact he would love to coach them at some point.
Real have now failed for six years to go past the Champions League's last 16. (ANI)