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Rafael Benitez

Country: Spain
Clubs: Valencia, Liverpool
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History: Rafael Benítez Maudes (born April 16, 1960, Madrid, Spain) is a Spanish football manager. Also referred to as Rafa Benítez, he has been manager of Liverpool F.C. since 2004. He has previously managed Valencia CF, CD Tenerife, CF Extremadura, CA Osasuna, Real Valladolid and Real Madrid B. Benítez became the most successful Valencia CF manager in their history after just three seasons in charge. In 2002 he led the club to their first La Liga title since 1971 and in 2004 he led the club to a La Liga/UEFA Cup double. In 2005 he guided Liverpool F.C. to victory in the UEFA Champions League and the European Supercup and in 2006 he led them to victory in the FA Cup.

Benítez became only the third manager, after Bob Paisley and José Mourinho, to win the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League in successive seasons and he is the first manager to achieve this with two different clubs. He became the second Liverpool manager, after Joe Fagan, to win the European Cup in his first season in charge. Throughout his career Benítez has also won several individual awards. He was awarded Manager Of the Year titles by both Don Balón and El País in 2002 while at Valencia CF and was named Madrid Coach of the Year for 2005 by Seven Stars Sport.

Benítez has developed teams where the defenders go forward and the forwards defend. Observers have also noted his ability to turn a promising squad of individuals into an efficient team of winners. He has achieved success at both Valencia CF and Liverpool with mainly inherited squads. Of the fourteen players used in the UEFA Champions League final, twelve were at Liverpool when Benítez arrived. He has also developed an eye for spotting talented players such as Mista, Curro Torres, Luis García and Mohamed Sissoko. Benítez also favours a strict rotation policy to keep his side fresh and the players on their toes.

Benítez is married with two daughters.

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