However, a disastrous run of form, including just two wins in their last 14 games across all competitions, opened up a toxic relationship with the Toffees fanbase.
His previous connections to arch rivals Liverpool, and a negative tactical approach, led to fan protests over the 61-year-old.
Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first team manager.
— Everton (@Everton) January 16, 2022
With the decision confirmed, attention now turns to successors for Benitez, with former striker Wayne Rooney linked as an option.
But despite being the previous favourite, Belgium boss Martinez has now edged in front of the Derby County head coach.
Martinez enjoyed a mixed time at Everton in his first spell from 2013 to 2016, with a fifth place finish, followed up by successive 11th places.
Despite taking Belgium to a World Cup semi final in 2018, he has under achieved in Europe with a world class group at his disposal, and the Belgian FA could release him from his contract, which expires in June.