"It is difficult to differentiate or distinguish between which of Rafa Benítez’s two greatest qualities that a follower who has had the luck, or rather, the privilege to witness stands out over the other. That he is a great coach few would dare to contradict. His CV endorses this: Inter Milan, Liverpool, Valencia, Tenerife, Extremadura, Osasuna, Valladolid and Real Madrid……His record ditto: Champions League, Spanish League twice, UEFA Cup, European Supercup, Community Shield in England and Italy, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup...
"Rafa is a great person, a genuine bloke and a man true to his word".
But more than this, he is a great person, a genuine bloke and a man true to his word, no-one can argue with me because I wouldn’t allow it. A champion in so many things who, for just a few years was with me at the Ciudad Deportiva, who can bare his soul and delight you in some ‘stolen’ moments from his busy schedule by sharing his football and life experiences; this is something that few ‘greats’ can do. It is coincidence that, whilst I was writing these lines,
"Here, in his mother country and even in his home town, there are too many people who pick holes is his work".
I put the TV on in the background, a sports channel – how could it be anything else – and I came across a report on this coach born in Madrid who became European Champion at Liverpool after losing 3-0 at half time against a certain AC Milan. Nothing special, an insignificant achievement that anyone can do! Or not? Are we talking about the Spanish coach with the most titles, the most media attention and most recognition outside our country? But not here? Well, quixotic patriotism or national sport are things of envy. Here, in his mother country and even in his home town there are too many who pick holes in his work, his way of working with players. Why would that be? The clue is in the title...".