LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - (FILE) Rafael Benitez the Liverpool manager shouts instructions to his players during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on May 2, 2010 in Liverpool, England. According to reports, June 03, 2010 Benitez is leaving Premier League club in the next 48 hours after being offerered a 3m GPB severance deal. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Rafael Benitez, Unemployed
Career Record: 350-163-167 (194-77-79 at Liverpool), 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Champions League runner-up, 1 FA Cup, 2 La Liga titles, 1 UEFA Cup
Accomplishments: Rafael Benitez's career nosedived quickly with a bad last season at Liverpool and a bad half season at Inter Milan, but his record was spotless before that downturn. He came to Liverpool off the back of a La Liga and UEFA Cup double at Valencia, then quickly guided Liverpool to a Champions League title. He never did manage to win the Premier League at Anfield, but considering that he was up against Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, all of whom had more money to spend than he did, it's tough to fault him for that.
Before He Was A Football Manager: He was a pretty average footballer. Benitez played in the lower divisions of Spanish football and figured out pretty quickly that he wasn't going to make it to the highest level of the game. He became a youth coach at Real Madrid at the age of 26 and was given his first managerial job in 1994, at Real Madrid B. His first job at an independent club was given to him in 1995, when he took over at Real Valladolid.
What Are His Tactics Like: Benitez almost always favored a 4-2-3-1 formation while at Liverpool, though he regularly used a 4-4-2 both at Liverpool and Valencia depending on the situation and the personnel available to him. He regularly played two of Peter Crouch, Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy together at Liverpool while Steven Gerrard played as the more attacking central midfielder in a 4-4-2, but he gradually shifted away from that with the acquisitions of Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano.
Most would categorize Benitez's tactics as slightly conservative and defensive for the talent that he was working with at Liverpool. It was not uncommon for him to play for a draw in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages or against the other old 'Big Four' teams. However, a team with Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres fit and in form unsurprisingly produced some pretty beautiful stuff at times.
While Benitez certainly isn't married to a system, he got a reputation at the end of his reign at Anfield for being very stubborn and unwilling to move away from personnel that obviously wasn't working well together.
How is He As A Talent Evaluator: Very hit or miss, certainly leaning towards miss. Robbie Keane, Alberto Riera, Alberto Aquilani, Jermaine Pennant, Andrea Dossena and Ryan Babel were poor signings. However, this is the guy who decided that Fernando Torres was worth £20m. He was also very right about Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano. Dirk Kuyt and Lucas Leiva were ultimately solid signings, but Kuyt was initially signed to score goals and Lucas got off to a very rough start. Glen Johnson isn't an awful player, but he overpaid for him significantly. Benitez gets about a C+ in this department.
Would He Get Along With Daniel Levy: I actually think that Benitez and Levy would work together just fine. Benitez went to Inter Milan knowing that he wasn't going to have full control of transfers, and he certainly didn't have full control at Valencia either. Some sort of system where both Levy and Benitez have to agree on players while Levy does the negotiating would be good for both parties. Benitez seems decent at spotting talent, but his transfer window dealings were a nightmare. Benitez is a good coach who needs a negotiator and a business man with veto power.
Would He Come To Tottenham: Almost certainly. He's been out of a job for a while and would probably love to come back to the Premier League with a decent team.
Thoughts: Rafael Benitez is absolutely not my first choice for Tottenham manager, but I think that he would be a decent hire and I would support Daniel Levy's decision if he thought Benitez was the best man for the job. He's a good tactician and his biggest hits in the transfer market have been spectacular, but there needs to be a system of checks and balances with him. He needs to have some control, but not total control over transfers. Because of Levy, Tottenham is the kind of club where Benitez can succeed.
Would you accept Rafael Benitez as Tottenham manager?
Yes, he'd be a great hire (304 votes)
No, that would be a disaster (163 votes)
Meh. (119 votes)
586 total votes