Roberto Di Matteo has been hired by Aston Villa, ensuring there will be two Champions League-winning managers in English soccer's second tier next season after Rafa Benitez opted to stay at Newcastle.

The 46-year-old Italian, who lifted the European Cup with Chelsea in 2012, takes over a Villa side that finished bottom of the Premier League last season and is waiting for soccer authorities to approve a new owner.

Chinese businessman Xia Jiantong has agreed a deal to buy the central England club for $87 million, hoping Villa makes an instant return to the Premier League.

Benitez, who steered Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, announced last week that he would be staying at Newcastle.