Meet the great Rafa Benitez, a big hit in England, Spain and Italy
Benitez’s trophy-littered Inter stint, as seen through Rafa’s eyes...
With Rafael Benitez approaching 15 months out of work, The Spoiler has found a way that he could pocket a tidy sum before finding a new club: offering the UK and Spain’s millions of unemployed youngsters a crash course in CV embellishment.
As the last coach to have won La Liga with someone other than Barcelona and Real Madrid and a guy who guided a fantastically mediocre Liverpool side to Champions League glory, he can justifiably be proud of what he has achieved as a manager.
But it’s his ability to polish up some of the less successful moments of his career to build a list of accomplishments even longer than his epic “facts” statement that leaves The Spoiler in a state of awe.
“How managers have experience at winning in three different countries?” he mused, presumably ignoring the onlookers bellowing the names Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Louis van Gaal, Arsene Wenger, Dick Advocaat and even Graeme Souness.
It is indeed a fact that he has won silverware in three countries: La Liga and the UEFA Cup in Spain, the FA Cup, Community Shield and Champions League in England, and, erm, the Supercoppa Italia and Club World Cup in Italy.
And of course, he is still revered for the historic feat of beating Roma in a one-off game and seeing off Seongnam Ilhwa and TP Mazembe in similar circumstances by Inter fans, who were so impressed by those triumphs that they disowned Mourinho.
Well, it was either that or they were dumbfounded by how he conspired to lead their treble-winning team to just six Serie A wins in 15 matches and he was gone by Christmas despite the shiny trophies, the answer to his call for Massimo Moratti to back or sack him being an emphatic “see you later pal”.
Who are we to argue with Benitez’s memories of that fleeting stay in Milan though? If you suspect that Roman Abramovich will prefer Rafa’s recollection, odds of 4/1 are offered on him taking charge of Chelsea to loud applause from besotted Liverpool supporters everywhere, or so he expects.