In a riveting clash, Girona emerged victorious with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo on a Friday night showdown, thrusting the Catalan side to the summit of La Liga.
A trophy winner at six different European clubs, and worshipped still by fans at Valencia, Liverpool and Newcastle United.
It is the second time Benitez has succeeded Carlo Ancelotti after he took over from the Italian at Real Madrid in 2015. There, like at many of his former clubs, he fell foul of disagreements with owners and board members.
It didn't work out for him at Goodison Park either, with the Spaniard lasting just over six months at the club before he was sacked following a run of just one win in 13 games.
He has never shied away from difficult, high-pressure assignments, and certainly hasn't succeeded everywhere - Inter Milan and Napoli fans will join the Everton faithful in not remembering his stints fondly.
However, few in the game can match his list of honours: two La Liga titles, a Champions League, two UEFA Cup/Europa Leagues, a FIFA Club World Cup and many other domestic and continental trophies.
His travels around the dugouts of Europe - and China - saw him eventually return to the Premier League, but after being hounded out of Everton by a furious set of fans, he's now available to take up a new project.
Big move to Valencia
His big break came in 2001 when Valencia took a chance on the then 41-year-old.
Three years later, when he left after falling out with the club's director of football, Rafa had won Los Murcielagos their first title for 31 years, another title two seasons later, as well as the UEFA Cup in 2004 courtesy of a 2-0 win over Marseille. A victory that secured the club's first major European honour for 24 years.
Big time at Liverpool
This was the season of his 'facts' rant, when Benitez was ridiculed for a largely unprovoked rant at Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, during which he repeatedly and animatedly talked about 'facts'.
Off to Inter Milan
Italian return at Napoli
Benitez was out of work for an entire eight days before starting his next role, back in Serie A at Napoli. They had finished second the previous season and Benitez was well backed by the signings of Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol.
The Real Madrid job
Yet again, poor Benitez arrived to an, at best, lukewarm reception from fans - again because of the popularity of his predecessor.
Carlo Ancelotti had delivered La Decima the previous season and enjoyed a relationship of mutual respect with star player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Benitez, returning to where his managerial career began with Castilla B in 1986 as a 26-year-old, simply never got going.
The relationship with Ronaldo was clearly sour, and Real unthinkably lost 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico with Benitez's characteristic defensive rigidity deserting him.
In came Zinedine Zidane, who won them the Champions League with a victory on penalties over Atletico Madrid in the final.
Despite being adored by Liverpool fans after his successful term in Merseyside, the Spaniard took one of the biggest risks of his career in the summer of 2021.
Merseyside Police are investigating this Anti-Benitez banner: "This message has understandably caused some distress and worry for residents in the area... we suspect that it was aimed at Rafa Benitez but whoever placed the message left it outside the wrong house #EFC #Everton pic.twitter.com/iiVVtooWZB— CapitalLivNews (@CapitalLivNews) June 28, 2021
Rafael Benitez net worth
Rafa Benitez's net worth is said to be £23million. As with many top-level managers, he has made as much of his fortune in compensation payments as wages.
He was paid a reported £7million for his early dismissal by Real Madrid and also received a sizeable pay-off from Inter Milan when he left with 18 months remaining on his contract.
Before joining Everton, his most recent post at Chinese club Dalian was reputedly worth £12million per season.