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Rafa Reveals His Upbringing And Early Influences In Fascinating Interview

Over the last week, we have published some of Rafa’s comments he made in the LMA magazine on how he coaches and various ways he deals with his coaching responsibilities.

But Rafa has gone into great detail about his upbringing and some of his early influences.

He also has explained why he tries to stay calm under the distinct pressures of being a manager in today’s modern football.

It’s a very revealing and fascinating interview which goes into details about Rafa growing up in Madrid.

Rafa Benitez – Valencia head coach – circa 2003

Here are some of the interview comments that we haven’t been covered in his lengthy interview:

“My parents were a great influence on me, growing up in Madrid.”

“My dad worked in the hotel industry from the age of 11 right through until his retirement.”

“Meanwhile, my mum, who was a huge Real Madrid fan, looked after three children.”

“I remember she took me to the Bernabeu stadium for training and she followed and supported me as I played football and various other sports as I was growing up.”

“I was part of the Real Madrid academy for many years and, while I wanted to play for the first team, a serious injury meant it wasn’t to be.”

” I played on for a while with other clubs, but the injury forced me to retire at only 26 and I started to earn my coaching qualifications.”

“Working at the academy with the under 16s with the likes of Vicente Del Bosque.”

“I was learning so much from everybody around me, just by watching and listening.”

“I remember helping to analyze data and review matches on the old Betamax and VHS videotapes, something that was all quite new back then.”

“I went on to work as a PE teacher and then in a gym as a teacher and coordinator, so I spent many years developing the kinds of teaching and people skills that you need as a manager.”

“Looking back, I think I knew I wanted to coach and manage from an early age.”

“At 13, I was already making notes on my team-mates and marking their performances; I’d always give myself maximum marks, so I was player of the year every season (laughs).

“At university, where I gained a degree in physical education, I would finish my studies each day and then rush off to play for the Real Madrid U18s.”

“Juggling my education and football was tough, but it was worth it because I loved both.”

“Going abroad to coach was a great challenge for me.”

“After we won the La Liga title with Valencia in 2003/04 I had a number of options open to me, but coming to manage at Liverpool was the most attractive, in part because of the passion of the fans.”

“Some years before, I had tried to improve my English by listening to The Beatles, so I felt I had a personal connection to the city.”

“Then I arrived in Liverpool with my family in the middle of a storm and thought briefly, ‘whoa, what are we doing here?’ (laughs).”

“It was also a challenge because of the language barrier.”

“I speak Italian, some French from my school days, and English, but I hadn’t anticipated how hard it would be to communicate my messages in the way I wanted with the players.”

“I was confident, though, that I could make a positive impact at the club and with the players.”

“To improve my English, I took lessons, immersed myself in the country’s culture, watched English television programmes and listened to the radio whenever I was driving.”

“I always try to be rational and stay calm under pressure.” “I have done this my whole life.”

“It’s something I learned from Luis Molowny, General Manager of Real Madrid – just stay calm and don’t rush.”

“Sometimes when you face a problem you need to give yourself time, use your common sense and then decide what to do.”

“Dealing with injuries as a player probably influenced how I handle challenges as a coach.”

“When you’ve worked so hard and given everything to make it as a player, but you can’t continue on that path, it’s very tough.”

“You have to be resilient and find another way forward.”

“I think each time I was injured as a player it helped me become better at coping with setbacks.”

“Leadership means being yourself.”

“It’s about setting a good example and, little by little, gaining the trust of those around you.”

“It wasn’t until my last year as a professional player, at Linares in southern Spain, that I really saw how I could use my experience to help the younger players.”

“It’s so important to realize that players need that guidance; they’re looking to trust and follow you and will take on board everything that you do.”

“As a coach, I used to follow Arrigo Sacchi closely; he was my idol.”

“I think when you’re young and learning you take something from every coach that you admire and respect.”

“Learning from others in that way is important, but you still have to be yourself.”

There are some fascinating insights into Rafa Benitez.

Let’s hope we can get our first win today against Leicester City.

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Comments welcome.

16 comments so far

  • Jib

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #1

    I still suspect that Rafa believes he can tame
    Mike Ashley – as I have said before he has worked
    with some real assholes of owners , and is the sort
    of guy to have learned from each encounter.

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #2

    It is interesting reading these snippets from Rafa over the past week or so. He mentioned something about his team needing to have someone who understands social media these days, so he’s clearly aware of what blogs, such as this one, are saying and is putting his message out there in response.

    Where my big issue with Catchy’s views on Rafa is how he appears to be painting Rafa as some self serving a**hole. I just don’t see it. He’s quite the politician and I get how that can be seen as untrustworthy, but Rafa just comes across as passionate and dedicated to me.

    Two things that given Ashleys running of NUFC, I’m so pleased to have back connected with the club again.

  • Jib

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #3

    It’s quite surreal to hear clearly English
    voices chanting “Europe Europe” at the
    golf in Paris , with Brexit on the horizon.

  • toon22

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #4


    Ask your mate Ashley to just sell up

    We’re sick of him up here

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #5

    We really do need a win today, as I said if we don’t win where’s the next one coming from.

  • toon22

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #6

    If we really do have the injuries sujested it’s going to be some game today

  • hibbit

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #7

    got to be honest the way things are shaping up today i would take a point now

  • kimbo

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #8

    Attack attack attack. No defensive 0-0 draw today , no more negative football.
    I now hate going to watch sh*te that is on show.
    Give us something to feel proud of Rafa , no point losing with a boring defensive display.

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #9

    Jail…Did you see my response on the last thread? Doesn’t need to be a drawn out answer, just whether you mean people should be, in your opinion, supporting the club financially at the present time or are you referring to a less complicated time where people wont need to make a choice between supporting their club and what they believe is enabling / supporting Ashley, by contributing financially?

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #10

    Kimbo…If 3 points were guaranteed right now by playing boring football today, would you accept it?

  • kimbo

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #11

    We will not get 3 points with boring football so no point in answering that question.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #12

    I can understand people withdrawing any financial support given our predicament. But under normal circumstances a clubs fans should contribute financially to the club they support.

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #13

    I think all bloggers should be made to pay if they wish to post anything negative about Rafa and the team.

    Negative comments about Ashley, Jib and Jesper should earn reward points which can then be cashed in to have a whinge about the team.

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #14

    Kimbo…Ever? Do you think Rafa has changed his philosophy since last season?

  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #15

    Jail…Thanks for clearing that up. You could argue it was a bit of a daft point to make in these times then. Just because Catchy, Jesper and Munster are getting under your skin?

  • kimbo

    Sep 29, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #16

    If Sky doesn’t show us live Ashley loses money so let’s make the atmosphere toxic in the ground to prove we can affect him financially.
    Sky will not want to televise games if they are embarrassed by fans chanting etc.
    Demonstrating outside the ground is pointless like our team inside the ground.


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