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Incredible Insights Into Rafa Benitez By Former Player

12:11 pm, Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 13 Comments

We initially released this article just before the last day of the window – it did not get many reads – probably because everybody was so interested in what was happening in the transfer market.

We are going to reissue it so fans can have a read and see what Rafa did at Valencia in the short three years he was there – as told by one of his players then –  Vicente Rodriguez.

Vincent _212717c

Vicente Rodriguez – former Valencia midfielder

Vicente Rodriguez is a former Spanish International midfielder (38 caps – 3 goals) who played at Valencia under Rafa Benitez when Rafa was the manager there from 2001 before joining Liverpool in 2004.

Vicente finally left Valencia in 2011 and played for Brighton & Hove Albion for a couple of seasons playing 31 games with 5 goals for the south coast side.

He retired in April 2014 and last January he returned to work with Valencia as a member of their technical staff.

While he no longer gives interviews he made an exception with the Argus in Brighton a few days ago and gave an exclusive interview.

In the interview he has talked about Rafa Benitez and said he understood why Rafa stayed at Newcastle and has some great insights into the man who is now leading Newcastle United forward:

“From the minute Rafa accepted the difficult challenge of trying to save Newcastle from relegation, knowing him as I do it didn’t surprise me at all that he stayed with them in the Championship.”

“I saw how the fans loved him, how they were asking him to stay. These are things that Rafa places a lot of value in.”

“I understand that Rafa, who is a person with high values, felt in debt to all these people and accepted the task of taking them back to the Premier.”

“Apart from being a top class coach, he is a man of commitment.”

“I’ve got the best possible memories of Rafa, no doubt.”  “With Rafa we achieved goals with Valencia which have never been repeated.”

“We won titles in Spain and Europe, we were highly competitive.”

“It is very hard to battle for the league with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and we won two titles in three years.”

“We did the double by winning the UEFA Cup. They were the best years in the recent history of Valencia.”

“He’s a top level coach. In many ways he has always been ahead of his time.”

“When he arrived at Valencia and applied his methods, along with his coaching staff, who were also top class, the results were incredible.”

“He transmitted a winning mentality. He took care of all aspects of the game, the training sessions, the preparation of a footballer.”

“He has an enormous capacity for work. And he has had success at Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter, Napoli – there’s a reason for that.”

“As a coach he could always get the best out of you, which is key for a player and for a team. He would demand the absolute maximum.”

“But on the other side he was the sort who would help you during troubled times and just get the best he could from you.”

“I like that. Having demands placed upon you is what helps you grow”.

It certainly looks like Newcastle United are now in very good hands for the future.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Other News

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Shadow_Shearer // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    Didn’t ed do this article be???

  • 2 cyprus // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:19 PM

    If all players (say 26) could play everywhere, there’d be 7,780,160 -approximately, check it out if you’re good at maths- 🙂 combinations.

    I know the number is not that high as for example, goalies can only play as goalies, but still it’s a but tricky to just provide two best elevens.

    Anyway I’d go with any combination excluding Shelvey but that is unfair as apparently he’s upped his game lately.

  • 3 cyprus // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    Yes I seem to remember this article. Still, incredible 😉

  • 4 Our Toon // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:22 PM


    We got relegated because of mcclaren and the way the club was run.

    Shirkers don’t play on the wing, then DM or behind the striker to then play either full back position. That’s not my definition of a Shirker.

    That “Shirker” played in every position that the “team” and rafa needed him to play, and he played better under Rafa. The damage had already been done though

    If you want to talk about Shirkers then point the finger at the likes of Shelvey who came in, didn’t bother working at all, lazy, gesticulating to his own squad to do his work. Yet shelvey is lauded now

    How many other players in that squad last season would have played in the positions Rafa asked of his captain?

  • 5 Our Toon // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    Defo seen this article, not sure if it was on here but certainly seen it somewhere, or the image of the player along with his comments

  • 6 Ron Knee // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    “We initially released this article just before the last day of the window – it did not get many reads – probably because everybody was so interested in what was happening in the transfer market.”

  • 7 Jail for Ashley // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    Sorry I forgot that the 40K a week grafter was a shining light of our cause, the hardship he must have endured by playing in the FB slots. You’ve shed a complete new light on him.

  • 8 dmac // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    Probably not the right platform and its been years since I have posted here, butmrhis little lad needs all our help.
    The Mackems have shown humility before after Mh17 and we could return the favour and maybe save a life.

    It all counts.

  • 9 hibbit // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    shocked to read that posters attach no blame to the players when the whistle goes they are the team they wear the shirt they showed no pride no passion no effort
    even playing out of position under a poor manager /coach………. i would have thought being a professional would have been a enough to at lest turn up a lot of them didn’t
    its very had to apportion blame but the players must except there share

  • 10 Oldgit1 // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    I can remember being in a pub when Sir Bobby was being interviewed after a match on the telly. A couple of lads in the pub where talking between themselves. But was quickly shushed by the audience as the great man was good hear a pin drop as everyone listened to every word the great man was saying. The respect for this guy was amazing.

    I see Rafa being the same as Sir Bobby, in his short time here he has been here he has rejuvenated the fans of Newcastle, given us hope and pride back. The man, like Sir Bobby, is a gentleman of the highest order and thank my stars that the club has had these two and of course Kevin Keegan as managers of my team in my lifetime.

    I predict that Rafa will make our team great again. And give us back our pride.

    Rafa the Gafa sounds good to me.

  • 11 Our Toon // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:36 PM


    No need to apologise mate

  • 12 Our Toon // Sep 3, 2016 at 12:42 PM


    That same squad that struggled under mcclaren throughout the whole season went 5 unbeaten under Rafa through to the end of the season which also ended with a 5-1 thumping of spurs….they do like to take a good old beating from us at our place.

    How much of it was mismanagement and how much of players shirking, each has there own opinion. My opinion is more valid than anyone else’s.

    Fortunately most of the players bought in under the regime when mediocrity and not going for cup runs Europe etc were acceptable are now gone, we can look forward to what Rafa builds here. Hopefully that poisoned mentality has faded away

  • 13 nufconceandfuturekings // Sep 3, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    We are just so fortunate to have this decent man as our manager.

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