Igor Gluscevic

Igor Gluscevic.

CF Extremadura. Seasons 1997-1999.

"To talk about my professional experience of Rafa Benítez is, inevitably, to talk positively about my personal and sporting successes. At the time, I had promised the President of Extremadura that I would score 30 goals. Rafa told me that to score that many goals I had to ‘shoot between the posts’. That simple, profound phrase stayed with me for the rest of my playing career.

We were promoted to the first division and I managed to get 24 goals in the league, becoming ‘pichichi’ (highest scorer) in the division, plus a few more in the cup getting the 30 goals. I remember Rafa being thorough and hard-working, focussing on tactics and leaving nothing to chance. Psychologically, he prepared the team and squad very well. Eleven would start but everyone had a role to play and we all knew what we had to do. He was a genius as a coach, a trainer and as a strategist.

When he left CF Extremadura, he told me ‘One day I will win the Champions League’ and he did just that.

When I stopped playing, I had the chance to work with him again as a scout for Liverpool FC, when he was their Manager. Once again I witnessed his organisation, professionalism and desire to improve. It came as no surprise to me that he was successful at Liverpool and had the respect and love of the fans.

After several years with him, I can say, without shadow of a doubt, that Rafa is a Champion both personally and professionally".