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Everton call off Rafael Benitez pursuit over fan backlash?

Everton call off Rafael Benitez pursuit?
© Reuters
Everton reportedly end their pursuit of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez after backlash from angry fans, who put banners up outside Goodison Park.

Everton have reportedly called off their pursuit of former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez after a backlash from angry Toffees supporters.

The Spaniard had held talks with Everton owner Farhad Moshiri which led to Everton fans leaving banners outside Goodison Park to express their feelings about the former Reds manager.

During his six-year spell at Anfield, Benitez famously led Liverpool to a 3-0 comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005 which won the club their fifth Champions League title.

The Daily Mail reports that Everton have listened to their supporters and decided to call off their pursuit of Benitez, whose family still live on Merseyside.

Everton legend Neville Southall has echoed the sentiments of many fans, also disagreeing with the appointment of the Spaniard as it would cause too much bad feeling.

Everton's search for Carlo Ancelotti's successor continues, with the club shortlisting Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and Brighton & Hove Albion's Graham Potter amongst others.

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Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez watches his side take on Wolves on February 11, 2019
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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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