Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has confirmed there was Celtic interest in Rafa Benitez - but the manager wants to take time off after leaving Dalian in China.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss has been backed into odds-on favourite to replace Neil Lennon in recent times with rumours flying on social media that he was set for discussions with Celtic hierarchy.

Balague, a regular with Sky Sports, claimed the Hoops WERE keen on Rafa at one stage but he seemingly ended fans’ hopes with news that the ex-Newcastle head coach wants to ‘rest’ for a while before his next role.

He said: "Rafa Benitez to Celtic? There was interest in him but not an option today. "He's going to rest for a bit, despite offers (from Germany, also a national side).”

Balague also pointed out a false letter doing the rounds on social media claiming to be a leaked message from Celtic chief Peter Lawwell to Benitez’s agent offering him the job.

"By the way, about Celtic: there is a false document doing the rounds (check the phone number),” he added.

We told how Lennon insisted he would not walk away from the job despite his side sitting 23 points behind Rangers in the Premiership table.

Eddie Howe and Benitez have both been linked but former Rangers ace Kris Boyd poked fun at the latter as an option, telling his social media followers that the Celts would be more likely to entice Rafa NADAL to take the job.