Rafa Benitez joined the ranks of Real Madrid CF when he was 13 years old and played in various teams from a young boy through youth and amateur teams until the age of 20, winning among other titles the Spanish Youth Championship in 1977-78 and also runner-up in the Spanish Amateur Cup in1979-80.
When he was involved in the Universiada in Mexico in 1979 (similar to the Olympics at university level), he sustained a knee injury that prevented him reaching the second team Real Madrid Castilla and was transferred to AD Parla, where he played 4 seasons, from 1981-1985, during which they were champions of the 3rd Division and won promotion to Second División B.
In his final season 1985-6, before retiring because of a recurrence of his knee injury, he played for CF Linares.
He was also an International player at University level with Spain on 5 occasions and participated in Mexico’s Universiada in 1979 as previously mentioned.
After finishing his time at Real Madrid, Rafa Benítez signed a contract with Newcastle United FC with the major objective being to stay in the Premier League. The Spanish manager returns to a league he knows well after his crucial years in Liverpool FC, finally returning closer to his family and with a completely new and challenging football project.
On the 3rd of June 2015 Rafa Benítez was appointed as new coach of Real Madrid. The Madrid born coach returned home, a home filled with past memories of his origins at the club formed by both playing and coaching in Madrid. However, Real Madrid announced his departure just seven months into his tenure on the 4th of January 2016.
June 21st witnessed the unveiling of Rafa Benitez as head coach of SSC Napoli in the club sports facilities - Castell Neapolitan Volturno. The Madrid born coach appointed by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis was presented to a packed room of 250 journalists from around the world. The press conference was broadcast live and it's impact has been compared to the arrival of Diego Maradona decades ago. In his first season as head of Napoli , Rafa Benítez managed to lift the Coppa Italia - the fifth in the history of the Neapolitan club and the eleventh title in the personal honors of the Madrid born coach. The twelfth title was won after beating Juventus in the Italian Super Cup played in Qatar on 22nd December 2014.
I joined Chelsea FC in November 2012 and worked hard with my team to instil the highest standards and challenge for honours. I am proud of the personal and professional achievement of managing the team to victory at the UEFA Europa League Final in Amsterdam on May 15th. I am also proud of successfully achieving our goal of securing a spot in the UEFA Champions League football group stages for Chelsea FC next year and for finishing in third place of the Premier League.
Earlier, in the 2010-2011 season, Rafa Benitez had managed Inter Milan in winning the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup just six months after joining.
He spent six seasons as manager of Liverpool FC, from the 2004-05 to 2009-10.
Before that, he spent three seasons as coach of Valencia CF SAD in La Liga (First Division), from 2001-02 to 2003-04.
CD Tenerife SAD Coach, Division 2, 2000-01 season.
CF Extremadura SAD Coach, 2nd and 1st Division, 1997-98 and 1998-99.
Club Atlético Osasuna Coach, Division 2, 1996-97.
Real Valladolid SAD Coach, 1 st Division, 1995-96.
Real Madrid B Coach, Division 2, 1993-94 and 1994-95 season, as well as Assistant First Team Coach Real Madrid CF, La Liga First Division (93-94).
Real Madrid U-19 coach and Assistant Coach Real Madrid B, Division 2, 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons.
Coach of Real Madrid Juvenil "A" and half the 1990-91 season as coach of Real Madrid U-19.
Coach of Real Madrid Juvenil "B", 1989-90.
Three seasons as coach of Castilla Youth "B" from 1986-87 to 1988-89.
- Florian Lejeune on Rafa Benítez
- 350,000 reasons to keep going
- Rafa Benítez in Calcio Napoli 24
- Video - Benítez: "We have to give a applause to our fans"
- Benítez: "To be here is a great privilege"
- Benítez: "Newcastle has a bright future"
- MBF thanks M53 Ford in Birkenhead
- Rafa's roadtrip around Newcastle
- The MBF make a donation to the Charles Thompson Mission
- Jamaal Lascelles on Rafa Benítez