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.
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.