|Rafael Benítez Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 9 in|
|Date of Birth||April 16, 1960|
Over the past two decades, Rafael Benítez has proved himself as one of the finest managers. He managed to lead underdogs Valencia to 2 La Liga titles in his 3 years in the club. He also coached Liverpool to an improbable UEFA Champions League win and led them to another final as well. However, just like Valencia, his battles with club board proved to be his undoing. But even years after his departure, he is fondly remembered by Liverpool fans. His ability to form a strong bond with club fans has been evident during his stay with Newcastle United as well. In fact, he has been considered as the most popular Newcastle manager since club legend Bobby Robson.
Rafael Benítez Maudes
Rafa, Rafa the Gaffer
Rafael Benítez studied at the INEF, the sports faculty at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He graduated from the university with a degree in physical education in 1982.
Professional Soccer Coach
- Father – Francisco Benítez (Hotelier)
- Mother – Rosario Benítez
Rafael Benítez was previously represented by Manuel Garcia Quilon.
5 ft 9 in or 175 cm
80 kg or 176.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Rafael Benítez has dated –
- Maria Montserrat (1998-Present) – After a long courtship, Rafa got married to Maria Montserrat in 1998. The following year, she gave birth to their first daughter, Claudia in Madrid. They welcomed their second daughter Agata in 2002. She was born in Valencia.
Race / Ethnicity
With advancing age, his hair has turned ‘Salt and Pepper’.
Best Known For
- His successful tenure with Liverpool. During his 6 years tenure with the English club, he managed to win UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup. His side had also lost one UEFA Champions League final.
- Having served as a manager of some of the most prestigious European sides such as Napoli, Valencia, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan.
First Soccer Match Managed
In 1995, he made his professional debut as a manager with Real Valladolid in 1995. However, his debut season didn’t end well as he was sacked after 24 games with his team rooted to the bottom of La Liga table. His side had only won 2 matches.
He made his debut in the Valencia dugout in August 2001 in the league match against Real Madrid. His side emerged victorious by 1-0.
In August 2004, he made his managerial debut for Liverpool in the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at the White Hart Lane. The match ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
In March 2016, he made his debut as Newcastle‘s manager in a match against Leicester City. Newcastle lost the away match by 1-0.
- Tactical Knowledge
- Tactical Flexibility
- Defensive Organization
- Zonal Marking
- Squad Rotation
- Technical Knowledge
- Man Management
- Often struggles to form a bond with his players
- Often picks too many fights with boardroom and senior club management
In 2006, he made his theatrical film debut in the sports drama movie, Goal! The Dream Begins. However, his appearance in the movie wasn’t credited.
First TV Show
In 2004, Rafael Benítez made his first TV show appearance on the sports TV show, Match of the Day.
Rafael Benítez Favorite Things
- Best Ever XI – Santiago Canizares, Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Sami Hyypia, Marcelo, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Frank Lampard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, and Eden Hazard
Source – 90 Min
Rafael Benítez Facts
- He started his playing career by playing as a midfielder for Real Madrid Aficionados in the Tercera División and Castilla CF in the Segunda División.
- While playing at the World Student Games in Mexico City for Spain Youth U-19s, he suffered a serious injury after being subjected to a hard tackle in a goalless draw against Canada. The injury pulled curtains on his professional career as it led to further injury problems.
- At the age of 26, he joined the coaching staff at his former club Real Madrid. He was appointed as the coach of Castilla B before the start of 1986-87 season.
- In 1987 and 1989, he won league titles with Castilla B. He also won a league title with Real Madrid Youth B in 1990.
- His first managerial success came with Segunda División side, Extremadura, which he joined in 1997. In his first season with the club, he led his side to La Liga promotion with his side winning 23 matches out of 42. His side defied relegation in the first season but was relegated in 1999 as they lost a play-off to Rayo Vallecano after finishing 17th.
- After resigning from his job at Extremadura, he took a year off from managing to study management and playing styles in Italy and England. During his time away from management, he also worked as a commentator and analyst for Eurosport, Marca, and El Mundo.
- In 2001, he was appointed the coach of Valencia. His stint with Valencia helped him grab the attention of the leading clubs as he led the unfancied club to the La Liga title in his first season with the club.
- His second season with Valencia wasn’t successful as his side finished in the 5th spot. But his side roared back in form, the following season as they won the La Liga with 3 games to spare and won the UEFA Cup final by defeating Marseille by 2-0.
- However, despite having the domestic league and European cup, he decided to leave Valencia after having fallen out with Jesús García Pitarch, the club’s director of football. Rafa felt that he wasn’t given the players that he wanted for his side.
- In June 2004, he was appointed by Liverpool as their manager. He also became the first Spaniard to work as a manager in the Premier League.
- The first big task he faced as Liverpool manager was to convince Steven Gerrard to reject Chelsea’s advances as their manager Jose Mourinho was pushing heavily for Gerrard’s transfer. He managed to convince Gerrard to stay but lost Michael Owen to Real Madrid.
- In his first transfer window, he signed Xabi Alonso, who would later become a firm Kopite favorite. He also managed to turn Jamie Carragher into one of the finest defenders in the league.
- In his debut season with Liverpool, he led his team to the UEFA Champions League final. It seemed that his side would lose the final as his side was trailing by 3-0 to AC Milan. But his tactical changes and substitutions helped his side win by scoring 3 goals in 6 minutes and then winning penalty shootout by 3-2.
- In January 2009, he went on an infamous facts rant against Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as he listed incidents in which he alleged Ferguson had received favorable treatment from authorities.
- When he had held facts press conference, his side was at the top of the table but by the end of the season, United went on to win the league. His facts rant was considered by many a turning point in the title race as he had allowed Ferguson to get inside his head.
- In June 2010, he decided to leave Liverpool by mutual consent. Nevertheless, he received £6 million pay-off. Once again, his feud with the club management had proved to be his downfall.
- Shortly after his departure from Liverpool, he decided to donate £96,000 to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
- In June 2010, he was unveiled as Inter Milan’s manager. But he didn’t survive at the club beyond the end of the season as he was sacked in December. It was claimed that his attempts to remove former Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho’s legacy and mark on the team had proved to be his downfall.
- He had started recording details from his youth team on a Commodore 64 computer at the age of 13. This sowed seeds of his future managerial career. He was one of the first coaches to record so many minute details of the matches on the computer.
- By the time he turned 16, he was working as a coach in the summer. Then, while studying at the university, he used to work as a coach, manager, and player.
- In May 2013, he led Chelsea to UEFA Europa League win. He became the second manager after Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni to have claimed the UEFA Cup/Europa League with 2 different teams.
- In May 2013, he joined Italian team SSC Napoli on a 2-year deal. During his stint with the club, he managed to help them win Coppa Italia cup and Supercoppa Italiana cup.
- In June 2015, he fulfilled his long-held ambition to manage his former club Real Madrid. But his stay at the club was short as he was sacked in January 2016. It was claimed that discord with players, unpopularity with fans, and poor results against top teams including a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona proved to be his downfall.
- In March 2016, he joined Newcastle United on a 3-year deal. However, he couldn’t prevent his side’s relegation despite ending the season with a 6 matches unbeaten run.
- At the end of 2016-17 season, he helped his side win promotion to Premier League. His side also won the 2016–17 EFL Championship.
- Visit his official website @ rafabenitez.com.
- Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
Featured Image by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar / Flickr / CC BY 2.0