Rafa Benitez Makes a Tearful Entry to Real Madrid
Spanish football manager Rafael Benitez, after serving as the English club Liverpool, has finally returned to the most notable clubs of his homeland, i.e. Real Madrid, and he couldn’t be happier about it. Born in Madrid, a tiff with the director of Valencia had forced him to leave Spain and switch to England. However, he has finally been appointed as the manager of Real Madrid.
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Rafa Benitez was so happy and overwhelmed with this that he couldn’t help getting all teary eyed on Wednesday, when the dream that he had nursed for almost his entire professional life came true. The former Liverpool manager also gave a remarkably short speech, shorter than any other opening speech given by any coach who has taken charge of the club in the last 15 years.
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It’s emotional to come home,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what to say. I want to make sure we win things and the team plays well.’ The 55-year old was accompanied by his wife, Montse, when President Florentino Perez presented him before media and directors, after a tour of the club’s Valdebebas training ground.
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‘We are convinced the arrival of Benitez will make us stronger. We are bringing in a coach who has always wanted to be manager this club. Someone who is known for his methods and for his professionalism,’ said Perez, as he read out a list of achievements of Benitez, including the Champions League win with Liverpool and two Ligas with Valencia. He further added, ‘He knows this club. He is one of ours. He arrived here as a 13-year-old and I imagine it is very special for him to take over the club as its manager today. Dear Rafa, welcome home.’ However, when he did not mention goalkeeper Iker Casillas and was asked whether David De Gea will replace the Spain captain at the Bernabeu this summer, he replied, ‘Today is not the day to talk about individual cases. I just want to enjoy the huge talent that I’m going to have at my disposal.’
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He was also asked, ‘What do you think of Casillas as a goalkeeper?’ To this, he just added, ‘As I have said before I don’t think I should speak about individual players and not even answer this question.’
Rafa is the 10th coach in 12 years during President Perez’s tenure, and he did have a laugh about it. ‘Ten is a good number in Spain. La Decima (the tenth Champions League) was celebrated more than any other. And if they give me a 10 as a mark I will be happy,” he said.
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Perez is quite ruthless when it comes to the hiring and firing policy. Carlo Ancelotti has been his most recent victim, as he got moved on, only a year after the Champions League victory. But, Belitez also appeared quite confident and calm when asked about the risk factor of his job. ‘I will be at the disposition of the club. The club has a structure and my job is to get the best out of the players. If a player comes then he will be welcomed,’ said Benitez.