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Name Rafael Benitez
Gender Male
Ethnic Spanish
Job Spanish Football Coach
Desc There are few managers over the past 35 years who have been able to break Barcelona and Real Madrid’s stranglehold of La Liga. Radomir Antic, Diego Simeone and Javier Irureta each achieved the feat once, but only one man has had the guile, wisdom and tactical knowledge to defeat Spain’s heavyweight duo twice in that time - the grossly underappreciated Rafa Benitez. A future Champions League winner for Liverpool, the Spaniard is famous for his methodical and pragmatic approach to management, as well as the ability to raise the games of all those who play under his stewardship


Club as Coach Dalian Yifang
  Newcastle United
  Real Madrid
  Liverpool FC

2005 07 06 Retrieve

[Gerrard prepared to surrender captaincy] Steven is our captain and I want him to stay as captain.

2005 08 13 Retrieve

[Middlesbrough 0-0 Liverpool. Liverpool were unable to find a way past 10-man Middlesbrough despite the best efforts of captain Steven Gerrard] I am a little bit frustrated. I think we played the last 15 minutes in their half. We controlled the game. We showed we could create chances and Steven Gerrard had four clear opportunities. It’s a pity. We controlled the game in the first half. Steven Gerrard could have had three or four goals. You know he has quality and pace and can score.

2009 08 10 Retrieve

[Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez Offer His Condolences After Death Of Espanyol Captain Daniel Jarque] This is a very sad day and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Daniel Jarque and everyone at Espanyol

2014 11 01 Retrieve

[Rafael Benitez on Gonzalo Higuain before the striker hit a hat-trick against Verona] He’s a hungry lion in a cage and he must go out and eat something

2015 03 13 Retrieve

[Rafa Benitez on whether he’d prefer to win the Coppa Italia or UEFA Europa League] That is like asking if you love your mother or father more!

2015 10 17 Retrieve

[Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez after Allardyce claimed Liverpool’s 2006 UEFA Champions League win ‘was nowt to do with’ the Spaniard] Do you know who Sam Allardyce is? Do you know how many trophies he has won? Well that’s my answer. It is what happens when someone has a book to sell. His opinion does not have a lot of value

2016 03 24 Retrieve

[Rafael Benítez, Spanish football manager, in Farewell to a Legend: R.I.P. Johan Cruyff,] He [Cruyff] has been inspirational to me along my career. When I was giving my first steps as a footballer he was a myth, an icon to follow. Afterwards, when I became a football manager, Cruyff was one of my references

2016 11 26 Retrieve

[Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez praises Steven Gerrard and his career] We are talking about one of the big names in football and one of the best players I have ever had. He was a player who could play in different positions, he could score goals, he could pass, he could assist, he could tackle, he could be an inspiration for the rest of the team like in Istanbul. Thanks to him we won the Champions League in Istanbul. Everything I can say about Stevie has to be positive. And because he was worried about the way that I was pushing him, I will say, ‘Well done, Steve’

2018 03 12 Retrieve

[Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal] We did really well in the first half. The feeling was we could get something, then we conceded an early goal - two moments of quality and it is difficult for us. The first half we were creating and pushing but you have to take your chances

That’s what happens when you have quality like they do, it is difficult for anyone. To react against a good team, you have to attack and push higher and you are more exposed.

It is a pity, still we are scoring and having chances. We knew it could be like that, it is tough. Where we are, we have to keep the belief the same way we did last season.

2019 05 13 Retrieve

[Rafael Benitez channels his inner Corporal Jones] We have to stay calm, don’t panic - like Dad’s Army - don’t panic and carry on doing your job because it’s a long, long season

2019 05 21 Retrieve

[What was the Miracle of Istanbul? Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League final comeback explained] My problem is that I don’t have words to express the things that I feel at this moment

2019 07 03 Tweet

[Former Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez on his move to Dalian Yifang] After a long path… We start a new challenge! I’m happy to begin this new project with Dalian Yifang

2019 11 15 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez admits he is hoping to return to the Premier League at some stage in the future] I follow all of the teams because you need to know the players and you need to know the league. In the future, so I am here, I am happy, and they are happy so hopefully we can do things well. But in the future I will come back to England, my family is there. I am happy, it is not like I would like to go back right now. But in the future, yes. At the moment I am working hard here

[Benitez, who has previously overseen a Champions League win at Liverpool and Europa League success with Chelsea] Obviously my idea in the future will be the Premier League. Then I want to stay close to my family. It is a league I like a lot. My memories. Why I decided to stay in Newcastle after relegation is because we beat Tottenham 5-1 in the last game with 10 players and the atmosphere was amazing. You could hear the fans, the staff, the players and the togetherness between everyone. That is what I was looking for. If in the future, people were talking about our first game here when we had 30,000 people. After two or three games we then had 55,000 people so I like to see the fans enjoying the game, the passion and the commitment of the players. This is what I had at Newcastle and hopefully in the future when I go back to the Premier League

2019 12 09 Retrieve

[Benitez rules himself out of Arsenal and Everton jobs] In the future I would like to come back to the Premier League because I like the league, but at the moment I can be very clear, there’s no chance I will come back now. I’m really pleased (with my current job), they trust me, they have a lot of staff working on a big, big project. The league is different, it is another level. Wanda, that is behind the team, is a massive company and they want to change everything, they want to change the structure. We are in charge of the kids from six years old until the first team. So I want to leave a legacy and it’s a challenge for me. I’m learning a lot, it’s a great experience and I’m quite happy at the moment

[When pressed on whether that meant he was not interested in the Everton and Arsenal roles] Yes, at the moment it’s a no

It was true that I was nearly there (West Ham), then Real Madrid came and I needed a couple of days to know exactly was going on and, obviously, I couldn’t say no to Real Madrid. But it is a massive club, they have problems now but they will do well in the end

2019 12 09b Retrieve

[Benitez backs ‘consistent’ Liverpool to win long-awaited Premier League title] I think so. I think that they are doing so well. They are very consistent. It is very difficult for them to lose games, especially to lose games in a row for sure. They have been signing the right players over the past year, spending money obviously, but (on) very good players in the right positions and the ones the manager was looking for

[When asked what was the secret to their success Benitez, who managed the Reds between 2004 and 2010] They have a very good balance. So it’s not just that they have good defenders or people are just talking about the goalkeeper. The full-backs go forward, the strikers have pace and ability, and the midfielders press all the time. As soon as they attack you, if they give the ball away they are pressing you so it is very difficult to counter-attack and create something. If you are a team that has plenty of possession they are so aggressive, it is not easy. If you are a team that wants to play counter-attack they are so quick. We tried that with Newcastle but we couldn’t go in behind them because they were faster than our players

2019 12 09c Retrieve

[Rafael Benitez says he would be open to taking the Everton job in the future despite being a former manager of Merseyside rivals Liverpool] Obviously I have Liverpool connections, that is very clear. But at the same time we are involved in the city, we have a lot of friends in the city, Evertonians and Liverpudlians. So I don’t have any problem with the fans, with the people there. Obviously we are closer to Liverpool but in the future, I am a professional, so in the future, you never know. Imagine I want to stay in England, I want to stay close to my family, I cannot get a job, then you have a job there close to you

[Benitez also moved to clarify comments he made about Everton following a Merseyside derby match in 2007. Speaking after the game at Anfield, which finished 0-0, Benitez described the Toffees as a ‘small club’, enraging the blue half of the city] I made mistake when I said it (Everton) was a small club. What I wanted to say was a small team, because in this game I remember they had one chance and nearly they won and they were (defending) too deep. Liverpool fans were happy and the Evertonians were upset. But I didn’t want to say they were a small club, I wanted to say they were a small team. When I walk in the street sometimes Evertonians come up to me and they say what I’ve done for the city, I have a charity there. So I have very good connections with the city, not just the Liverpool fans. At the moment I cannot come back to the Premier League because I am happy in China, it is a big project as I have said, we have a new training ground, with 40 pitches, so it is a great project and we will see what happens. In the future, you never know because I am a professional. I love Liverpool, I love the Liverpool fans. But at the same time I want to do my passion which is to get a job and continue working

2019 12 18 Retrieve

[Comments made by Sir Alex Ferguson regarding fixtures favouring rivals famously provoked Rafa Benitez during the 2008-09 season, when the Spaniard’s Liverpool team were out in front in the race for the title] I was surprised by what has been said, but maybe they [Manchester United] are nervous because we are at the top of the table. But I want to talk about facts. I want to be clear, I do not want to play mind games too early, although they seem to want to start

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[Benitez responds to ‘lies’ he tried to teach Ronaldo free-kicks and change Modric’ passing] That’s a lie. At no time did I tell him how he had to take them. The only conversation I had with Cristiano about free-kicks was in Australia, during pre-season. I told him we had analysed, together with my goalkeeper coach, the free-kicks he took when he was at Manchester United and the trajectory of the ball in relation to the position of the wall. Our idea then, as Liverpool coaches, was to try to counter their [United’s] free-kicks. But that’s it. At no time, as coach of Madrid, did I tell CR7 how free-kicks should be taken

I only told him that, of course, when you have a simple pass, you have to hit it with the inside [of your foot] because then it’s easier for your team-mate. When I played, I also used the outside, but in 10-15-metre passes. Anyone who knows me knows this is a lie [that I told Modric to stop]. However, it’s very easy to release lies and make them appear true

I went a long time without talking about the club. In one moment, it occurred to me to say something… and it seemed as though I couldn’t say what I thought. Therefore, what I do is not talk about Madrid. I focus on the future, which is Dalian. We were able to sign Lucas [Vazquez], Casemiro and [Mateo] Kovacic. Two of them are still there, and at a good level, but I don’t want to talk about that. In six months, they let me do what they let me do. For whatever reason, there wasn’t interest to do more. And that’s it. I don’t want to say more

[He is not discounting a return to Europe] I’m not thinking of coming back now. We want to develop this Chinese project. Before coming here, I had offers from different places, but they didn’t meet the conditions we were looking for

2020 05 25 Retrieve

[Benitez reveals strange elevator superstition ahead of Champions League glory] I still think about standing in the team hotel before the game, waiting for one of the elevators to take us down to the lobby. I was saying, ‘If this lift comes, we will win 1-0. If it’s that one, we’ll draw, if it’s that one over there, we’ll lose. And if it’s this one, we’ll win on penalties’. There are no prizes for guessing which one finally arrived. It was a night of ups and downs, so a story about lifts feels appropriate

2020 05 25b Retrieve

[Benitez reveals what he told Liverpool players at half-time of 2005 Champions League final] When you concede a second goal, you have to think about changing something. And if you concede a third? Well, then you definitely have to change and that was very clear. I said to Pako Ayestaran, my assistant, ‘I will give the half-time team talk and we will talk about three at the back to have an extra player in the middle. You go and do the warm-up with Hamann’. The message we gave to the players was about confidence - try to score early, get back in the game. That was the main thing. In other circumstances or with smaller teams, perhaps you might be looking at damage limitation because you don’t want to concede four or five goals but this was a final. You have to go for it. And then, depending on what happens in the first few minutes, you make decisions. Again, we did it

2020 06 17 Retrieve

[Benitez: Dalian Pro have discussed Carrasco-Lozano swap deal with Napoli] We stayed in touch and when we talk to each other we feel mutual respect. At the time, as is inevitable, there were differences, but nothing sensational or disrespectful. We had the opportunity to chat in January, it seems to me, because an exchange could be made involving Lozano and Carrasco