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Rafael "Rafa" Benítez Maudes (born 16 April 1960) is the manager of Liverpool Football Club.

Born in Madrid, Benítez played football throughout his youth and joined the Real Madrid academy. He mixed his university studies with his football career at lower division Spanish teams. He joined Real Madrid's coaching staff at the age of 26, going on to work as the under 19 and reserve team coach, and assistant manager for the senior team. Benítez moved away from Real Madrid but management spells at Real Valladolid and Osasuna were short-lived and unsuccessful.

Benítez guided Segunda División side Extremadura back to the Primera División in his first season in 1997, but the team was relegated the following season. He left the club, taking a brief break from football before returning to coach Tenerife in 2000. Benítez was appointed coach of Valencia and he proved himself to be amongst the top Spanish managers by winning La Liga in the 2001–02 season—Don Balón and El País named him Manager of the Year. In 2004, another league title and a UEFA Cup victory were added. However, a disagreement between Benítez and the club director over team investment caused the Spaniard to switch to English Premier League outfit Liverpool.

Benítez was a high-achiever in his first season as he guided Liverpool to victory in the UEFA Champions League, the highest honour in European club football. In the following three seasons he won the FA Cup, amongst other honours, and reached the 2007 Champions League Final, but has remained unable to win the Premier League, with Liverpool's best performance under Benitez a second place finish in 2008-09.

Early career

Benítez passed through the playing ranks, as a midfielder for both, of Real Madrid Aficionados in the Tercera División and Castilla CF in the Segunda División. He also enrolled as a student at INEF, the sports faculty at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and in 1982 he obtained a degree in physical education.

In 1979, Benítez was selected to play for the Spain Universities XI at the World Student Games in Mexico City and he scored a penalty in the opening game, a 10–0 win against Cuba. In the next game, a 0–0 draw against Canada, he was injured following a hard tackle. The injury saw him sidelined for a year which realistically ended his chances of becoming a major player. In 1981, Benítez joined Tercera División side Parla. Initially he joined Parla on loan, but eventually signed for them permanently and helped them gain promotion to Segunda División B. He also played a further three games for the Spain Universities XI. In 1985 he signed for Segunda División B club Linares and under Enrique Mateos he served as a player/coach. Further injury problems saw him miss almost the entire 1985–86 season and he subsequently retired as a player.

Real Madrid youth coach

In 1986, at the age of twenty six, Benítez returned to Real Madrid and joined the club’s coaching staff. At the start of the 1986–87 season, he was appointed coach of Castilla B. With this team he won two league titles in 1987 and 1989. He won a third league title with Real Madrid Youth B in 1990. Halfway through the 1990–91 season he succeeded José Antonio Camacho as the coach of the Real Madrid Under 19s. With this team he won the Spain Under 19s Cup in 1991 and 1993, beating Barcelona in both finals. In 1993 the team completed a double when they also won the national Under 19 league. While at Real, Benítez also gained his coaching certificate in 1989 and in the summer of 1990 he taught at a football camp at the University of California, Davismarker in Californiamarker.

During the 1992–93 season Benítez also worked as an assistant coach to Mariano García Remón at Real Madrid B. After his success with the Under 19s, Benítez then succeeded García Remón at the start of the 1993–94 season. Real Madrid B were then playing in the Segunda División and on 4 September 1993 he made his debut as a Segunda División manager with a 3–1 over Hércules CF. In March 1994 he became assistant manager to Vicente del Bosque with the senior Real Madrid team before returning to coach Real Madrid B for the 1994–95 season.

Early coaching

The first attempts by Benítez at senior management away from the Real Madrid fold were less than successful. He was appointed manager of Real Valladolid for the 1995–96 season but was sacked after only two wins in 23 games with the club bottom of the Primera División. During the 1996–97 season, Benítez took charge at Osasuna in the Segunda División but after only 9 games and one win he was sacked. He did, however, meet the fitness instructor Pako Ayestarán at the club, and went on to form a partnership with him at several clubs for the next decade. In 1997, he joined another Segunda División side, Extremadura and this time led them to promotion, finishing second in the table behind Deportivo Alavés, after winning 23 out of 42 games. Extremadura only survived one season in Primera División, however, and were relegated in 1999 after finishing seventeenth and losing a play-off to Villarreal.

Benítez subsequently quit CF Extremadura and took a year out studying in England and Italy. He also worked as a commentator/analyst for Eurosport, Marca, El Mundo and local Madrid TV. In 2000 he was appointed manager of CD Tenerife of the Segunda División and with a team that included Mista, Curro Torres and Luis García, he gained promotion to La Liga by finishing third in the league behind Sevilla and Real Betis.

Valencia CF

2001–04 – Twice champions of Spain and UEFA Cup triumph

In 2001 Benítez was appointed coach of Valencia, replacing Hector Cuper. The club had previously approached Javier Irureta, Mané and Luis Aragonés and had been turned down by all three. However the club director Javier Subirats recognised the potential of Benítez and campaigned for his appointment. Despite the loss of Gaizka Mendieta, he inherited from Cuper a team brimming with potential. Santiago Cañizares, Roberto Ayala, Rubén Baraja, David Albelda, Vicente and Pablo Aimar provided the backbone of an already formidable side.

Valencia CF fans were soon won over by Benítez as he introduced a more attacking style of play. He also made good use of both Mista and Curro Torres and Mista went on to become top goalscorer for Valencia with 19 goals in the 2003–04 season and Curro Torres became an established international. In 2002, these tactics saw Benítez lead Valencia to their first La Liga title in thirty one years, winning it by a seven point margin over second placed Deportivo La Coruña.

However the following season 2002–03 was a disappointing one as the club failed to follow up on their title success, they finished only fifth in La Liga, eighteen points behind Champions Real Madrid. The season saw Benítez make his debut in the UEFA Champions League. Valencia CF reached the quarter-finals before losing to Internazionale.

The 2003–04 season was a different story. Valencia won La Liga with three games to go and beat Marseille 2–0 in the UEFA Cup final. Despite this success, Benítez fell out with Jesus Garcia Pitarch, the club's director of sport, over control of new signings and the club's failure to reinforce the squad with the players he wanted. These differences of opinion saw Benítez resign as Valencia coach in June 2004.He famously said "I asked for a table and they bought me a lampshade" in reference to the players he wanted the club to sign.

Liverpool FC

2004–05 champions of Europe

One of Benítez' first tasks at Liverpool was to convince club captain Gerrard not to move to rivals Chelsea. He was unable, however, to convince Michael Owen to extend his contract, and he was sold to Real Madrid. Benítez signed several players from La Liga, most notably Luis García and Xabi Alonso, both of whom drew immediate admiration from Kopites. Benítez also gave new life to existing Liverpool players, transforming Jamie Carragher from a utility player to one of Europe's top centre backs alongside Sami Hyypiä.

During his first season Benítez failed to improve the club's form in the Premiership. Key players missed much of the season through injury and Liverpool failed to challenge Chelsea and Arsenal for the league title, finishing fifth. However, Benítez did reach his first English domestic cup final, losing the Carling Cup final against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadiummarker 3-2 after extra time.

In the UEFA Champions League it was very different, despite a poor start. Liverpool began their campaign with an unimpressive 2–1 aggregate win over Grazer in the qualifying rounds and were minutes away from going out of the competition in the group stages before an 87th minute goal by Gerrard defeated Olympiacos 3–1 and saw the club progress to the last sixteen on goal difference. Bayer Leverkusen were beaten 3–1 home and away followed by Juventus who were beaten 2–1 on aggregate after Benítez' bold selection of Anthony Le Tallec and Scott Carson in the home leg had, to some degree, worked.

In the semi-final Liverpool faced José Mourinho's Chelsea, who had beaten Liverpool twice in the Premiership as well as highly rated Barcelona in a previous round. After a goalless first leg at Stamford Bridge, a controversial early goal from Luis García saw Liverpool win 1–0 on aggregate and reach the final against Milan. In a classic final, Liverpool came from 3–0 down at half-time to level the score at 3–3 in the space of 6 minutes and eventually triumphed 3-2 on penalties, with the assistance of Jerzy Dudek. Benítez's calm methodical approach at half time was said to give the players the belief they could pull off an improbable comeback and win Liverpool an historic fifth European Cup.

The Champions League win made him only the third manager, after Bob Paisley and Mourinho, to win the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League in successive seasons and the second Liverpool manager (after Joe Fagan) to win the European Cup/UEFA Champions League in his first season in charge. Benítez' tactics were credited as a key factor in Liverpool reaching, and winning, the final, despite an unimpressive squad of players.

2005–06 – FA Cup winners

For the 2005–06 season Benítez further reinforced the Liverpoolmarker squad by signing Peter Crouch, Mohamed Sissoko, Pepe Reina, Boudewijn Zenden and Daniel Agger, as well as former Liverpool player (and fan favourite) Robbie Fowler in the January transfer window.

It is notable that Dudek's heroics in the Champions league final were not enough for him to stay as first choice keeper, as Reina replaced him in goal right away. Benítez also quickly discarded unlikely heroes Vladimír Šmicer and Igor Biscan, who played key roles in the European success but seemingly did not figure in Benítez' long-term plans. Benítez also quickly sold two of his first signings in English football, Josemi and Antonio Núñez after they failed to establish themselves.

The improvements saw the club's Premiership form improve considerably. Liverpool finished third in the league, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League and only narrowly missed out on second place by one point. Liverpool also won the FA Cup beating both Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as a thrilling 5-3 win against Luton in the third round, on the way to the final against West Ham Utd. History repeated itself in the final as they then went on to lift the trophy after a penalty shoot-out, following a dramatic 3-3 draw. Liverpool came from 2–0 down and were losing 3–2 in stoppage time when Steven Gerrard scored a dramatic late equalizer. This time Pepe Reina saved three penalties during the shoot-out to secure the silverware.

In winning the FA Cup, Rafa became the only manager in the history of Liverpool Football Club to win major trophies in both of his first two seasons at the club.

2006–07 – Another Champions League Final

The English Press were predicting Liverpool would challenge Chelsea for the Premiership crown after Benítez addressed Liverpool's perceived weaknesses in the transfer window by signing strikers Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt as well as wingers Jermaine Pennant and Mark González, a belief reaffirmed after his side won the Community Shield with 2–1 victory over Chelsea.

Although Liverpool had qualified for the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League with two games to spare (a new record for the club), and then going on to win the group with one game still left, Benítez's future at the Liverpool was called into question after poor away results in the league: his agent was quoted as saying he would consider offers to manage in Italy. Benítez swiftly issued a statement through the club's website re-affirming his desire to remain with Liverpool for the long term.

Although the team's league results improved, their defence of the FA Cup lasted just one game as they were knocked out by Arsenal at Anfield; and four days later they were knocked out of the League Cup, also by Arsenal losing 6–3 at Anfield, Liverpool's heaviest home defeat since 1913. At the end of the league campaign, Liverpool were on 68 points, beating Arsenal to third place on goal difference but their poor away form had prevented the title challenge many were expecting - they did not win away in the League until December.

Liverpool's 2006–07 Champions League campaign proved more fruitful. They were then drawn against defending champions Barcelona in the first round of the knockout stages. Benítez's side did not have ideal preparations with a reported altercation between Liverpool players Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise days before the winning the first leg 2–1 at Camp Noumarker. This was seen as a major test of Benítez's man-management at the time and he subsequently fined both players. Remarkably, Riise and Bellamy combined to score the second goal of a 2–1 victory in the first leg and Liverpool held Barca to just one goal in a 0–1 loss in the return at Anfieldmarker, thus progressing on the away goals rule.

After beating PSV 4–0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, Liverpool draw Chelsea in the semi finals. In the first leg, Liverpool lost 1–0 at Chelsea, but won the return leg 1–0, and then ultimately winning 4–1 in a penalty shoot-out after extra time. After the game, Liverpool's new co-owner George Gillett said: "Rafa has been tremendous ... We knew of him but I don't think we realized how good he was, and not just as a coach. Not only was he a brilliant coach but he is a very sharp, savvy businessman. He knows what he wants and how to get it. The more we have seen of him the more impressed we have become." During the penalty shoot out, Rafa was noted for sitting down cross-legged in his technical area. He later explained that it was because fans behind the dug-out were complaining that they could not see.

Liverpool contended with Milan for their sixth European Cup in Athens, Greece on 23 May 2007, in a repeat of the 2005 final but lost 2–1. Following the defeat Benítez insisted his club's new owners had to back him in the transfer market in order for Liverpool to progress. It was reported Benítez did not feel he had the complete support of the new owners, a thought that was compounded by Liverpool's initial lack of activity in the transfer window, although the club played these rumours down.

2007–08 – Cash flow and crisis

Benítez in 2007.
Benítez moved on several players in the summer, including fan-favourites Robbie Fowler, Luis García and Jerzy Dudek as well as Djibril Cissé and Craig Bellamy, who was notably phased out of the first team following his altercation with Riise. Benítez also lost his long-time right-hand man, Ayestarán, who quit after a reported disagreement, which Benitez admitted "hurt" him and arguably Liverpool's titles hopes.

Liverpool's new owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett provided Benítez with transfer funds for the new season to attempt to bridge the gap to Premiership rivals Manchester United and Chelsea. Benítez broke Liverpool's transfer record when signing Spanish striker Fernando Torres from Atlético Madrid as well as signing young Dutch forward Ryan Babel, attacking midfielder Yossi Benayoun, Brazilian player of the year Lucas Leiva and Andriy Voronin. Benítez also had one eye on the future, investing in a number of young foreign players including Hungarian starlet Krisztian Nemeth and Dani Pacheco from Barcelona.

Liverpool made a good start to the new league season and topped the Premier League table for the first time under Benítez after a comprehensive 6–0 win over Derby County. Despite this, poor results in the Champions League and a disagreement over future transfers lead to a public falling-out with the club's owners, played out in the media at the end of November. It was suggested that Benítez's position was now under serious threat. The resulting coverage resulted in an overwhelming show of support by fans in support of Benítez which culminated in a fans' march in support of Benítez ahead of the critical Champions League home tie with Porto, which they won 4–1.It has since emerged that at the time Jürgen Klinsmann was offered the Liverpool job, before accepting the post of Bayern Munich manager. Such a revelation damaged Benítez' relations with the Americans and he was constantly linked to Real Madrid. However, Benitez insisted his future was at Liverpool and signalled his long-term intentions by appointing Sammy Lee as his new assistant.

Benítez was unable to win any trophies, Liverpool's domestic campaign faltering in the winter months - including a shock FA Cup exit at home to Barnsley - and his side this time lost to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals. Despite the lack of silverware, the main talking points were off the pitch, with Benítez in the middle of a power struggle between the Liverpool board

2008–09 – League runner-up

Benítez was reportedly close to quitting Liverpool in the summer of 2008 over the Liverpool board's failure to back him in his bid to purchase Gareth Barry from Aston Villa. Benítez had reportedly intended to sell Xabi Alonso to fund the purchase of Barry, a decision that did not meet with unanimous approval from The Kop. Benítez did however address what were seen as the weak areas of Liverpool's squad through the purchase Robbie Keane, Andrea Dossena and Albert Riera, amongst others. Liverpool made an impressive start to the 2008–09 season including Benítez' first ever league win against Manchester United at Anfield on the 13 September and ending Chelsea's 86 match unbeaten run in the league at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool's early season form won Benítez the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month award. Benítez also broke Bill Shankly's record of 65 European matches as Liverpool manager and matched Bob Paisley's European record of 39 wins after a win over Marseille. Liverpool finished the calendar year top of the Premier League for the first time since 1996, despite Benítez requiring an operation to remove kidney stones in December. Benítez was not present at the Emirates Stadium for Liverpool's 1–1 draw with Arsenal, although he did pass instructions over the phone to assistant Sammy Lee, who also took charge for the next two matches, with Benítez watching from the stands.

Poor results on the pitch in the New Year, including losing in the FA Cup to local rivals Everton, and an attack on Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in the media lead some pundits and opposition supporters to suggest Benítez was "cracking up" under the pressure of a title bid. Benítez still appeared to be at odds with Liverpool's owners, publicly turning down a contract extension and demanding more control over transfers. It is believed that Benítez prioritised the signing of Barry over Keane during the Summer, but Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry instead chose to first pay £20 million for Keane and then pulled the plug on the Barry deal, causing tension between the two. In the January transfer window, Robbie Keane was sold back to Tottenham with some analysts claiming he was a "pawn in a power struggle" between Benítez and the club's owners..

In March it was announced that Parry would stand down at the end of the season, although he insisted this was not related to any disputes with Benítez.

Nevertheless, on 18 March 2009 Benítez signed a new five-year deal with the club. Benitez said "My heart is with Liverpool, so I'm delighted to sign this new deal, I love the club, the fans and the city and with a club and supporters like this, I could never say no to staying." Prior to this, at one point rumours of Benítez quitting or possibly being sacked became so great that bookmakers had to suspend betting on the subject.

A fine end of season run included a 5-0 aggregate win over Real Madrid in the Champions League First Knockout Round and a first league win at Old Trafford for Benítez, beating Manchester United 4-1, during which Liverpool fans ironically chanted that Rafa was "cracking up", in reference to Manchester United chants earlier in the season. Liverpool were also involved in two successive 4-4 draws, first against Chelsea in the Champions League Quarter Final, losing 7-5 on aggregate, and then against Arsenal in the League. These high-scoring games late in the season were in contrast to a succession of low-scoring draws at home to lesser teams earlier in the season that Benítez admitted cost his side the chance of the title. With 10 wins in their last 11 games, Liverpool finished the season on a high, finishing second in the league for the first time under Benítez, four points off champions Manchester United.

2009–10

During the summer transfer window of 2009 Xabi Alonso, one of the key members of Benítez's squad, was sold to Real Madrid following a lengthy pursuit in a deal reportedly worth £30 million. Alonso admitted Benitez' attempts to sell him the previous summer were a deciding factor in his move . Alonso was immediately replaced in the squad by the Italian Alberto Aquilani, signed from AS Roma, who was recovering from a long-term injury. Despite the capture of England right-back Glen Johnson from Portsmouth, who made an encouraging start to the season after a £18.5 million move, the money gained from the sale of Alonso and other fringe players was less than Benítez' expenditure. This prompted discontent amongst considerable sections of the club's fanbase who believed Benitez was not being backed sufficiently in the transfer market. After injuries to several of Liverpool's central defenders, Benitez signed Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos from AEK Athens for a reported fee of £1.5 million, the modest sum serving as a further indication of the lack of transfer funds at the Liverpool manager's disposal.

Liverpool made a disappointing start to the new season, losing two of their first three league games. Benítez' decision to sell Alonso and replace him in the side with Brazilian Lucas, with Aquilani having arrived at the club injured, was called into question. Benítez defended his decisions, arguing Liverpool's slow start was due to key players such as Gerrard being below par. A series of high-scoring league wins in September was followed by four consecutive losses away to Fiorentina, Chelsea, Sunderland (courtesy of a freak goal deflected off a beachball) and at home to Lyon - Liverpool's worst run in 22 years. A 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Anfield provided Benitez with brief respite before further loses away to Arsenal, in the League Cup and Fulham. This was followed by a 1-1 draw in Lyon leaving the club poised to exit the UEFA Champions League in the group stage. With only one game won in ten fixtures the media questioned Benítez' future at the club, particularly if he were to fail to qualify for the Champions League..

It suggested this Liverpool team was missing Benítez' characteristic defensive rigidness and lacked the necessary depth to cope with injuries to key players such as Gerrard, Torres and Johnson. Benítez' decision making was called into question with his decision to withdraw Yossi Benayoun for Andriy Voronin near the end of the Lyon game, when the game was still 1-1 was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Kop, a rare vocal objection by Liverpool fans. He received further criticism for withdrawing Fernando Torres in the Fulham clash, despite the Spanish striker carrying an injury.Despite this criticism, victory over Manchester United in October gave Benítez his 114th win out of 200 Premier League games, a record only bettered by Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool manager.

On November 24, Liverpool won their must-win game away to Debrecen but were eliminated from the Champions League after Fiorentina defeated Lyon 1–0. Benítez told Sky Sports after the game that he had 100% belief in Liverpool to finish in the top four of the Premier League, and win the Europa Cup too. He said "our job was to win - we won. There are many positives. We cannot control the other game though." Liverpool's chief executive also ensured that Benítez would not be losing his job.

Relations with other managers

Benítez has had confrontations with both José Mourinho (Chelsea manager, 2004–2007) and Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United manager, 1986–) during his time in English football. Benítez made a number of suggestions during Mourinho's tenure as manager that Roman Abramovich's money had brought Chelsea success, and the pair refused to shake hands after some matches (although Mourinho declared the feud to be over after a league game in 2006). When Mourinho exited Chelsea in 2007, Benítez said "You know my relationship with him, it is better that I do not say anything"; declining to comment as Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger had. On 9 January 2009, he delivered a controversial appraisal of certain aspects of Sir Alex Ferguson's tenure, accusing Ferguson and Manchester United of being nervous because Liverpool were at the top of the league, then accused the Manchester United manager of not being punished for breaking F.A. rules, suggesting he was "the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things", referring to Ferguson not being punished following an F.A. charge for comments he made about officials Martin Atkinson and Keith Hackett, following an F.A. Cup tie with Portsmouth.

Management style

Benítez has developed a reputation in English football as a ruthless tactician, with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admitting he longed for a "well done" from Benítez after good performances. Benítez' ruthlessness can be seen in the way he disposed of all but Gerrard and Jamie Carragher from his Champions League winning squad within four seasons, with penalty shoot-out hero Jerzy Dudek made back-up goalkeeper the very season after the European triumph.

Benítez has preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation during his time at Valencia and Liverpool. Benítez has often been praised for his tactical acumen, particularly in European ties, setting his team up to exploit opposition weaknesses. His calm demeanor and tactical changes at half time of the 2005 European cup final were said to give players belief they could battle back from 3-0 down, although he had to correct his plans when it was pointed out to him his new formation would require 12 players on the pitch. Benítez often plays key players out of position to suit a formation - notably converting both Steven Gerrard (in the 2005/06 season) and Dirk Kuyt into right-wingers.

Benítez brought two Continental management traits to English football, squad rotation and zonal marking. Despite heavy criticism from the English press of his squad rotation, Benítez persisted, with the reward of a Champions League and FA Cup triumph in his first two seasons. Benítez argued he needed to rotate his small squad to ensure key players were fit for the latter stages of these knockout competitions. It is notable that in recent seasons Benítez has rotated his squad less, contributing to better league runs but no Cup success.

The tactic of zonal marking, not used by any other Premier League manager for set pieces, is often derided by pundits when Liverpool concede from set-pieces. Benítez stands by his tactic, pointing out teams who man-mark concede just as many, if not more, goals from set pieces.

Benítez has been criticised by some sections of the Liverpool support for failing to develop any local players, none having made the progression from the Academy to the first team under his management while promising youngsters such as Stephen Warnock, Danny Guthrie and Adam Hammill have been sold. Benítez instigated a host of backroom changes at the end of the 2008/09 season to improve the club's youth development, including the appointment of club legend Kenny Dalglish in a senior role at the Academy.

Personal life

Bentiez's father, Francisco Benítez, worked as an hotelier. Rafael Benítez mother is Rosario Maudes. Rosario was a big football fan and supported Real Madrid, while his father supported Atlético Madrid. Francisco died in December 2005 while Benítez was in Japan for the FIFA Club World Championship.

Rafael Benítez married Maria de Montserrat in 1998. They have two daughters, Claudia, who was born in Madrid in 1999, and Ágata who was born in Valencia in 2002.

Statistics

Manager

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Tenerife 19 July 2000 30 June 2001

Valencia 1 July 2001 16 June 2004

Liverpool 16 June 2004 Present

Total 518 287 120 111


Honours

Player

Parla

Manager

Real Madrid U-19s

Extremadura

Tenerife

Valencia

Liverpool

Individual awards



See also



References

  1. Rafa Benítez: Paco Lloret (2005)
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2004/jun/29/newsstory.sport2
  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2007/mar/07/sport.comment1
  4. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2005/11/09/benitez-uncovered-inside-the-dressing-room-on-that-amazing-night-in-istanbul-115875-16348116/
  5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-561134/This-team-best-says-Liverpool-boss-Benitez.html
  6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-551648/Pako-betrayed-hurts--Benitez-lifts-lid-assistants-Anfield-exit.html
  7. Rafael Benítez calls temporary truce as fans plan show of solidarity | Liverpool - Times Online
  8. ESPNsoccernet - England - Jolly: The long goodbye for Rafa?
  9. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2300641/Sammy-Lee-back-as-Liverpool-assistant-coach.html
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  12. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2009/09/03/xabi-alonso-i-decided-to-leave-liverpool-fc-after-club-s-move-for-gareth-barry-100252-24596192/
  13. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-columnists/john-aldridge-column/2009/08/22/john-aldridge-funding-woe-sure-to-frustrate-rafa-benitez-100252-24501697/
  14. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/6088914/Five-key-areas-for-Liverpool-manager-Rafael-Benitez-to-address.html
  15. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/8227473.stm
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  17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/8314194.stm
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  22. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2009/11/02/rafa-benitez-s-days-are-numbered-insists-legend-ronnie-whelan-liverpool-fc-latest-100252-25071088/
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  26. http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/mediawatch/drilldown/MW13524080919-1536.htm
  27. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/carragher-hails-tactician-benitez-527940.html
  28. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/henrywinter/2316518/Gerrard-Benitez-made-mistakes.html
  29. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2008/09/06/jamie-carragher-what-really-happened-at-half-time-in-istanbul-100252-21683921/
  30. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2006/sep/26/thecultofpermanentrotation
  31. http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=929739.html
  32. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/5131199/Liverpools-demise-against-Chelsea-the-fault-of-Rafael-Benitezs-zonal-marking.html
  33. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1210128/JAMIE-REDKNAPPS-WEEKEND-WATCH-Rafa-Benitez-sort-Liverpool-out.html
  34. http://www.rte.ie/sport/soccer/2009/0414/benitezr.html
  35. http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2009/07/04/kenny-dalglish-rejoins-liverpool-fc-100252-24069334/


External links

Biographies

Statistics

Valencia CF

Awards




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