As a Coach: Quart Poblet: 1981-1982 UD Alzira: 1982-1984 CD Alcoyano: 1984-1985 CF Gandía: 1985-1986 Olímpic de Xàtiva 1986-1987 Levante UD: 1987-1988 Benidorm CD: 1988-1991 CD Castellón: 1991-1992 Hércules CF: 1993-1994 Elche CF: 1994-1995 UD Almería: 1995-1996 Hércules CF: 1996-1997 CD Castellón: 1999-2000 UE Lleida: 2000-2001 Valenciana regional football team: 2002-2003 CD Numancia: 2003-2004 Recreativo de Huelva: 2004-2005 Córdoba CF: 2005-2006 Aris Salónica FC: 2006-2007 Albacete Balompié: 2007-2008 Aris Salónica FC: 2008-2009 Levadiakos FC: 2009-2010 SD Huesca 2011-2012 Hércules CF 2012-2013
"Before I talk about Rafa, I should, from the outset, show my respect, gratitude and esteem for him personally and for his career as a coach. Having said that, I can go on to explain why I have said it.
Nothing happens by chance. In the first place we are talking about an educated person who began his career as a coach at such a great institution as Real Madrid, though of course at the bottom. That is where I first got to know his work. They were at a time when football in Spain, from a tactical point of view, with the influx of several foreign coaches, was beginning to change. At least, that is my opinion.
Regardless of which system of play is better or worse, his methods in training were a delight….It was obvious then that he had a capacity to observe and analyse what was happening. And many of us knew it. I did not, though, realise the depth of Rafa Benitez’s analysis. Years passed, he finished his time at Real Madrid Castilla and began new eras at Real Valladolid, Atletico Osasuna, CF Extremadura, CD Tenerife. He was gaining experience and knowledge. For any coach, when things don’t go how you would like (sometimes it is just the results) and you are sacked, it is of course a complicated and worrying time. But you have to carry on. You go over things, you are self-critical and you look forward. For Rafa, I imagine Valladolid and Osasuna would be obvious examples of this. However there are always more opportunities and for Rafa too they arrived. In my opinion, the time at Tenerife with a promotion and the ups and downs experienced to achieve it was a defining moment in creating his future. So many experiences and in a short space of time.
And next we have his sojourn with Valencia. To win 2 league titles almost consecutively in Spain, with Real Madrid and Barcelona around, is not easy whoever you are. Valencia did not have the best squad or the best players, that is obvious. But it is obvious that without doubt it was the best team. And these things don’t happen spontaneously. I am from Valencia and was lucky enough to experience it and enjoy it from the outside. Valencia is a great club but with enormous expectations. Valencia won a lot because they were a TEAM, in capital letters. Tactically, he was like a professor. This is when you can see the coach’s influence.
And immediately he went on to Liverpool. Another country, another culture, another language, another style of football. The coach from Madrid was now the Manager. There were new difficulties to overcome. Rafa showed a capacity to adapt and be a leader. He came over as intelligent by creating a group (colleagues) and surrounding himself with professional people. I had the chance to witness this in person and can testify to it. Again, we see another team with Rafa’s tactical stamp on it and they knew how to play.
Lastly, the short time at Inter. Another change of country, language, culture, football. Another experience to harden you and help you grow. We will soon see him again leading a big club. I will finish how I began. My esteem, respect and gratitude for a great professional".