Vicente Rodríguez Guillén.

Valencia CF. Seasons 2001-2004.

"From the minute Rafa accepted the difficult challenge of trying to save Newcastle from relegation, knowing him as I do it didn’t surprise me at all that he stayed with them in the Championship.

I saw how the fans loved him, how they were asking him to stay. These are things that Rafa places a lot of value in. I understand that Rafa, who is a person with high values, felt in debt to all these people and accepted the task of taking them back to the Premier. Apart from being a top class coach, he is a man of commitment.

I’ve got the best possible memories of Rafa, no doubt. With Rafa we achieved goals with Valencia which have never been repeated.“We won titles in Spain and Europe, we were highly competitive. It is very hard to battle for the league with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and we won two titles in three years, we did the double by winning the UEFA Cup. They were the best years in the recent history of Valencia.

He’s a top level coach. In many ways he has always been ahead of his time. When he arrived at Valencia and applied his methods, along with his coaching staff who were also top class, the results were incredible. He transmitted a winning mentality. He took care of all aspects of the game, the training sessions, the preparation of a footballer. He has an enormous capacity for work. And he has had success at Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter, Napoli – there’s a reason for that.

As a coach he could always get the best out of you, which is key for a player and for a team. He would demand the absolute maximum – but on the other side he was the sort who would help you during troubled times and just get the best he could from you. I like that. Having demands placed upon you is what helps you grow".

The Argus. August 2016