CD Tenerife Season 2000-2001 Valencia FC Seasons 2001-2004
You've always been a very methodical coach, who likes to have everything under your control and whom nobody can take by surprise. You've given freedom to your players, and perhaps that's why your teams have always stood by you throughout your entire career.
To the players with whom you currently share a dressing room, I would say that your greatest virtue is that you always make your players perform beyond their capabilities. If they believe in your message, they will end up doing very well.
From the moment you arrived at Real Madrid you knew what you were going to find. The club was coming off a year that wasn't good, and yet they've practically demanded that you are challenging for titles from day one. The start has not been good, not so much in the results but in the level of football, but I have no doubt that things will turn out well, and even if the occasional disaster will make things more complicated you'll always give it 100%. That's part of what has made Real Madrid great and made it one of the finest teams in the world.
What's more, this isn't the first time that you've come up against this sort of situation. Your extensive experience will tell you that, with calm and patience, you'll get results. In football, trying to rush things is always ill-advised, even if getting quick results is the order of the day. One always needs a period of adaptation to let your message sink in with your players. A defeat like Saturday's (against Barcelona) would have any coach trembling in his boots, but if there's anyone who knows how to tackle and overcome this sort of situation, it's you.
The blow at the weekend was huge, but with patience it can be put right. I'm convinced that you'll have told the players that these types of things happen in football. You'll have reminded everyone, yourself above all, that you got things wrong, and accepting that is the first step to getting past it. From here on, the secret for you will be hard work. You are a born grafter, and working hard will bring results.
If I were the manager, I wouldn't make any kneejerk changes to how things are right now at Real Madrid. When you make changes or take decisions without planning you expose yourself to the possibility that anything can happen. Regardless of the current situation, the most sensible thing is to keep on trusting yourself and allow your methods to work. I'm convinced that you'll have the patience necessary to wait until everything starts to fall into place.
You have at your disposal 22 of the best players in the world, and they will all put their shoulders to the wheel for the benefit of a team to get things working. In football, at times you need to take a big hit in order to react. We saw that with Barcelona last season, when it looked all over for them as they lost to Real Sociedad at the Anoeta; but after that hammer blow, everything changed. Saturday's defeat has to be the trigger to realise that maybe you weren't going in the right direction and change.
For better or worse, football never stops and Real Madrid have a new challenge in the Champions League (against Shakhtar Donnetsk). This match offers a chance to top the group and then start thinking afresh about the league, in which you have suffered a defeat but still have every chance of winning. I always think about the words you once used with us in the dressing room and which I, who had a great friendship with you, have now made my own: Entrenamiento duro, éxito seguro - or "tough training, success certain." I believe that now, more than ever, you must embrace those words in order to move forwards.
Best of luck.
Eurosport. November 2015.
"We all carry something from Rafa Benítez inside us and then we have our own personal touch. But the values we learnt in his dressing room are the ones that we now teach with our own personal touch".