Rafael Benitez has resigned as coach of Valencia with speculation growing he is set to be unveiled as the next Liverpool manager.

“It’s official. Rafa Benitez has rescinded his contract with Valencia,” club spokesman Manuel Mas said.

“Valencia not only did everything possible to ensure Rafa Benitez stayed on for the remaining year of his contract but also tried to get him to extend his deal with the club,” said Orti

“It was his decision, not ours. But he felt his cycle at the club had come to an end. There is no better way to end than on a high and we have to congratulate him for that.

“It took us all by surprise. I don’t like the fact that he is leaving and neither will the fans, but this is now the reality.”

The Primera Liga club offered the coach a two-year contract extension, but Benitez, unhappy with the limited transfer budget at his disposal, turned down the new deal.

“This had been possibly one of the most difficult decisions I have had to take in my sporting career,” said Benitez.

“I’m going to take a few days to analyse the options and I will choose the one that suits me best.”

“I want to see it as positive that the club has tried to keep me on, but after the events of this season which have undermined my morale I have decided to reconsider my future at the club.

“I want to thank all the players, the employees at Valencia, the press and especially the fans for their support over the past three years.”

Benitez, who led Valencia to the Spanish title and the UEFA Cup this season, has been linked with the vacancy created by Gerard Houllier’s departure at Liverpool.

Liverpool said they would not be making an announcement about the appointment of a new coach for another two weeks.

“There will be an announcement about our new manager in two weeks, further to which I do not wish to comment on speculation,” Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry told the club’s website.