Rafael Benítez Facts
Football manager and former player
- Rafael "Rafa" Benitez Maudes is a football manager, and former player.
- He is currently interim manager of Chelsea having been appointed in November 2012.
- He was born on 16 April 1960 in Madrid, Spain.
- He played football throughout his youth and joined the Real Madrid academy.
- He mixed his university studies with his football career at lower division Spanish teams.
- He joined Real Madrid's coaching staff at the age of 26, going on to work as the under 19 and reserve team coach, and assistant manager for the senior team.
- He moved away from Real Madrid but management spells at Real Valladolid and Osasuna were short-lived and unsuccessful.
- He guided Segunda Division side Extremadura back to the Primera Division in his first season in 1997, but the team was relegated the following season.
- He left the club, taking a brief break from football before returning to coach Tenerife in 2000.
- He was appointed coach of Valencia and he proved himself to be amongst the top Spanish managers by winning La Liga in the 2001-02 season-Don Balon and El Pais named him Manager of the Year.
- In 2004, another league title and a UEFA Cup victory were added.
- He later moved to English Premier League club Liverpool.
- Benitez was a high achiever in his first season as he guided Liverpool to victory in the UEFA Champions League.
- In the following three seasons he won the FA Cup, amongst other honours, and reached the 2007 Champions League Final, but remained unable to win the Premier League, with Liverpool's best performance under Benitez a second place finish in 2008-09.