In 2000, Rafa Benitez was appointed manager of Tenerife of the Segunda Division in Spain and he instantly got them promoted to La Liga by finishing third in the league that very first season behind Sevilla and Real Betis.
Rafa was then hired by Valencia in the summer of 2001.
That´s one of many successes Rafa has enjoyed and he´s been at many different clubs since his six year successful reign at Valencia when he twice won the Spanish League and also the UEFA Cup.
Those clubs have been Liverpool, Inter-Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid – and now Newcastle United.
As we mentioned he managed at Tenerife, the former club of 22 year-old Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez.
Rafa Benitez at Tenerife in 2000 – he got them promoted in first season
This is what Ayoze has said about the former Real Madrid boss who has now taken two training sessions at the club:
“It’s big news for us. We’re really looking forward to trying to save the season and obviously Rafa can be the man,”
“We know he’s a top manager. He’s been with big teams and it’s something good for us, so we’re looking forward to working with him. We worked with him on Friday, and now we’ve got ten more games to try and save the season.”
“It’s the right time, with ten games to go. It’s a lot, but you have to think about it game by game. We have to try and take points and get results, believe in ourselves and do our jobs.”
“Every club he has been at, he’s been really good. I was really young when he got that promotion with Tenerife, but the most important thing is we want to turn around this situation, get results and obviously everyone will be happy if we save this season.”
“You have to change your mindset a little bit, but in a good way. You feel like the past is gone, and this is something new.”
“It’s good for the team, and I think this news is going to be important – crucial. I could see the team trained yesterday with really good intensity.”
“Everyone is happy and looking forward to improving, and to playing against Leicester. As soon as possible we want to win games again and get better results.”
“Rafa Benitez has got a good name everywhere and everyone knows him, so that’s why he’s here in a big club trying to get success,”
“Newcastle is a big club, and we are not where we should be, so that’s why Rafa is here – to try to get us a good position. It’s a good challenge. Now we have to be focused on these ten games.”
Perez has scored 6 league goals for us, second in the scoring charts to Gini Wijnaldum who has 9 league goals – all scored at St. James’ Park.
The first test for Benitez is tomorrow night at Leicester City, who are the current Premier League leaders on 60 points – a massive 36 points above Newcastle.
Rafa will go in with a game plan to get all 3 points at the King Power Stadium – although that will be very difficult.