Gullit: Chelsea wanted Mourinho; not Di Matteo
Former Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit believes Roberto Di Matteo's sacking was inevitable - because he was never the first choice to take up in the post to begin with.
Di Matteo was axed on Tuesday morning following the Blues' damaging 3-0 Champions League defeat against Juventus last night.
The loss in Turin has left the Blues on the verge of elimination from a competition Di Matteo memorably won in May to persuade owner Roman Abramovich to appoint him full-time in the summer.
But with defeat leaving the club in the humiliating position of becoming the first defending champions to bow out at the group stages, Abramovich has quickly wielded the axe.
Gullit believes the haste of Di Matteo's departure - the club's NINTH managerial change in as many years - ensured that the board had already identified the new man to take up the poisoned chalice.
Ex-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez told Sport360 in Abu Dhabi earlier today that was was interested in the post, but that he had received no contact from the club.
“I have just found out [about Di Matteo]. Obviously Chelsea is a top side and they can compete for trophies so it goes in this category,” said Benitez.
Asked if Chelsea had already made an approach, he replied: “You ask directly, I cannot answer directly. In football a lot of people are talking so we will see what happens in the next few days. I am looking for a club that can challenge for trophies and Chelsea is one of these clubs.”
Gullit, though, is refusing to rule out the possibility of a stunning return for the 'Special One'. Mourinho, currently in charge of Real Madrid, led the club to their first title in 50 years in 2005.
"I can't believe that Chelsea just sacked him without knowing who is going to be the next one," Gullit told Sky Sports News. "I will be curious to see what they do in the next couple of days.
"I can't believe they have just sacked him out of the blue and then they'll be thinking about who is going to be the next one. I don't think so. "I think they have already in mind who is going to be the next one.
"It could of course be Mourinho, if it happens, I don't know because it is in the middle of the season."
Gullit believes Mourinho had already been on the club's radar at the end of last season, before Di Matteo's Champions League success prompted them to appoint the Italian full-time.
"I already had a very good feeling that when Robbie won the Champions League that maybe they (the Chelsea board) already had somebody else in the frame to take over," he said.
"I don't think they took any notice of the fact that Robbie could win it. That was the reason I believe that they took so long to sign Robbie because they were looking for other people. In the end they gave it to Robbie.
"I always had the feeling that Mourinho was in the frame all the time - for the simple reason that he signed just after Chelsea won the Champions League. He signed his contract with Real Madrid and for me that is no coincidence."