Liverpool FC. Seasons 2007-2010. Chelsea FC. Season 2012-2013.
"Rafa Benitez has been the most important coach in my career. It wasn’t easy for me to leave Atletico, come to England and play in a much faster game that is more dynamic and physical than La Liga. Rafa has been the only one who knew how to help me improve. His priority is the team but he adapts the conditions to make everyone fit in the team. That’s his secret. To do it, he maintains a constant personal dialogue with each player. He taught me a lot and thanks to him I matured as a professional. Without a shadow of a doubt".
Esquire Magazine, Nov 2011
"With Rafa Benitez I learned a lot. He is a coach who is very meticulous and who can identify small but very important details that no-one else sees to enable you to score. I worked with him a lot individually and I think we saw the benefit of this on the pitch".
"Rafa taught me to demand the maximum of myself every day and never to relax. When you are in a team that is doing well the players tend to relax, but you should always push yourself, never relax and try to give your maximum every day. You can’t stop after scoring 20 goals and say ‘Done it, there you are’. After scoring 20 goals for Benitez’s team he comes to you in training and pushes you more every day, all week. He shows you more drills. There are days when you think ‘Good God, this bloke doesn’t let me breathe’. There are times when you don’t realise that he only wants you to improve, to progress in life, to never stop, and you need a person close to you to help you do it. You can’t do it any other way. He calculates everything, the movements and the long passes, and he studies it all on his computer. If he tells you to move a couple of yards from the penalty spot, you do it because he teaches you that using the extra space is the difference between scoring and missing a chance".
"Rafa told me all this even before I signed for Liverpool: how we would play and what our objectives were. He even gave me a work schedule. No-one is assured of their place in the team; everyone has to prove themselves in training. When he sees something missing, he signs a player to fill the gap, even if he is not well-known. He signs players for the all-important system which ensures that the team never weakens".
"He is a man who has great experience in football and a great CV".
Comments in the media
"Rafa Benitez is a great coach all round, and if given time I'm sure good results will follow."