Is Rafa Benitez heading for a Keegan-style breakdown?

He would love it if Fergie stopped criticising refs! Love it!

Rafa Benitez and Alex Ferguson

Liverpool are sitting pretty three points clear of the table ahead of this weekend’s games, but the pressure to stay at the top seems to getting to Mr Benitez. We all know he’s as mad as a box of frogs, but we’ve never seen him get quite as worked up as he did in a press conference earlier today.

Rather than talk about the upcoming Stoke game, Rafa chose to lay into Sir Alex, even suggesting that the powers that be should let Fergie write the fixture list to stop him complaining about it.

Benitez started his rant by condemning Ferguson’s lack of respect for referees:

“I want to talk about facts. I want to be clear, I do not want to play mind games too early, although they seem to want to start.

“During the Respect campaign – and this is a fact – Mr Ferguson was charged by the FA for improper conduct after comments made about Martin Atkinson and Keith Hackett.

“He was not punished. He is the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things.

“How can you talk about the Respect campaign and yet criticise the referee every single week?

“We know what happens every time we go to Old Trafford and the United staff. They are always going man-to-man with the referees, especially at half-time when they walk close to the referees and they are talking and talking.

“All managers need to know is that only Mr Ferguson can talk about the fixtures, can talk about referees – and nothing happens.

“We need to know that I am talking about facts, not my impression. There are things that everyone can see every single week.

“To complain and to always have an advantage is not fair.”

He then went on to complain about Fergie’s complaints about fixtures:

“Two years ago we had a lot of early kick-offs away on Saturdays when United were playing on Sundays. And we didn’t say anything,” said the Reds boss.

“Now he is complaining about everything, that everybody is against United. But the second half of the season will see them playing at home against all the teams at the top of the table, it is a fantastic advantage.

“At Christmas, United played on the 29th and the rest of the teams played on the 28th. We were away against Newcastle two days after playing Bolton. They were playing about 40 hours later, but they were not complaining then.

“If he wants to talk about fixtures, and have a level playing field, there are two options if we don’t want more problems with fixtures.

“One is the same as in Spain, the draw for the first part of the league is known, everyone knows which weekend. In the second half everyone plays the opposite, so you all know.

“Sky and Setanta have the right to choose their games and it will be the same for everyone. So Mr Ferguson will not be complaining about fixtures and a campaign against United.

“Or there is another option. That Mr Ferguson organises the fixtures in his office and sends it to us and everyone will know and cannot complain. That is simple.”

Ferguson hasn’t infuriated a manager this much in over a decade, when Kevin Keegan infamously cracked up live on television during the 1996/97 campaign. Has Rafa become the latest casualty of mindgame-itis? Let us know what you think below…

25 responses so far
  • Stimpy // January 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    He’s right!, the FA and the majority of it’s ref’s are Ferries’ whores. It’s a calculated tactic on behalf of United to intimidate Ref’s. Has been for a long time now. Just look at the shite Rooney gets away with.

  • Nicko // January 9, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Totally agree with Rafa.

  • TYPOS // January 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    …this month in over a decade…

    …Is Rafa become …


  • Daren // January 9, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Nice one Rafa ! about time someone stood up to that twat !!!! show`s how much he`s worried about LFC this year, and why if anyone responds to his ” mind games” are they under pressure and feeling the heat ?

  • IANO // January 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Rafa’s dead right as was Keegan 13 years ago and ferguson still gets away with it. GET A GRIP FA

  • geordiemark // January 9, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    rafa is spot on man united get away with everything youd think the fa are scared of them go on rafa do your nut son

  • KG // January 9, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    The FA cant punish him ; they are named after him u c [Fergusmoan Association].

  • Rod TOON // January 9, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Fergie’s from Govan man. Got his fingers in some scary pies. We all don’t know the half of it!

    …go on Rafa!

    …oh, and yeah, as mentioned by ‘TYPOS’ – Sort out yer copy! Or at least proof-read before publishing. Slack @rses.

  • Naethyn // January 9, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    In Rafa we Trust.

  • jimmy // January 10, 2009 at 2:21 am

    “mindgame-itis? ” really?? its really getting old.
    ooooohhhh. … fergie and his mindgames. spooky spooky mindgames.
    its the whole media, they feel they have to amplify everything he says, dont they. sad part is the referees listen to it. so it seems to work
    keegan had already lost that season before he spoke. everyone could see it. and if liverpool lose it, it ain’t gonna be because rafa gets sidetracked by what he says.

    all fergie does is influence(pay) the referees, not the opposing managers themselves.
    and as far as knocking liverpool off their perch,
    Graeme Souness and evans did that, not fergie.

  • Ryan Failey // January 10, 2009 at 3:55 am

    what a twat. bought it.



    and sinker.

    Can’t see liverpool winning it now. watch over the next few days. the tinkerman shall return!! he’s lost it.

  • carl // January 10, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Its so funny all the Liverfool fans getting on here first. is it because you have not been to bed yet because you were out last night robbing us all.
    Rafa does a keegan. Gerrard goes to jail. The cracks are showing. So so funny. LMFAO

  • Gunnergirl08 // January 10, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Go Rafa! He’s only saying what everyone else has been thinking for years. Someone had to do it and good on him for being that person!

  • lolwut // January 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Was Rafa complaining about refs when Chelsea lost in CL semifinals by the ghost-goal?

  • Schnell Abnehmen // January 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I am sorry to say Rafa is totally right. It is about time for Ferguson to retire.

  • Naethyn // January 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Hey carl, your parents are cousins.

  • jose luis // January 11, 2009 at 2:48 am

    rafa es el mejor, viva rafa, a ver si se convierte pronto en entrenador nacional

  • Paddy Honan // January 11, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Time will tell whether it was a Keegan. He might be trying some mind games of his own with officials. I would have stayed shtum and focussed on beating stoke. Lucas Leiva wouldn’t score in a monkey wh*rehouse with a bag of bananas. Why did he pass that sitter. This is facts :0)

  • taricco // January 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    to all you liverpool fans: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/4214075/Rafael-Benitezs-outburst-made-up-of-half-truths-and-disinformation-Football.html

  • Naethyn // January 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    To all you United fans who have never been to Manchester or the UK for that matter; fuck off!

  • taricco // January 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    been to both mate, that come-back against united fans is getting old and is also pretty stupid… we’re popular around the world.. get over it.. unlike liverpool who actually CAN fit all their fans into anfield, old trafford isnt nearly big enough.

  • Naethyn // January 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    And yet Old Trafford remains one of the most lifeless and quiet stadiums in England.

  • taricco // January 11, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    anfield is probably louder but i wouldnt go as far as you did.. certainly wasnt lifeless when we beat chelsea earlier. anyway, did you care to look at the telegraph article?

  • Davo // January 12, 2009 at 4:51 am

    OMG he’s lost it! Ferguson now has him hook, line and sinker. Rafa needs to learn that you should make this sort of rant just after you win so your in a position of strength. Not just before a game. Now look what’s happened!

  • Ryan Failey // January 12, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    That Telegraph article shames Benitez in ways we thought only his baby photos could.

    Also, the results that have emerged “post-rantus” have embarrassed Rafa and put Liverpool under HUGE pressure to maintain the challenge for kings of England.

    Liverpool won one game, got a 3 point lead and thought they’d won it already. Gerrard faces jail and rafa faces star billing on Ricky Hattons next “Football Gaffs” christmas DVD.


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