Real Madrid president Florentino targets Liverpool boss Benitez
The Spanish giants will sack Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, after their Champions League defeat by Lyon.
A top Real source told The Sun: "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 want 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."
Benitez was a coach at Real's academy at the start of his career and has not hidden the fact he would love to coach them at some point.
One problem could be he does not see eye to eye with Real technical director Jorge Valdano. But that is not deemed to be an obstacle.