As Rafa Benitez prepares for a major move at Liverpool, the message from Everton speaks loudly.
There are two sides to Rafa Benitez, just as there are two sides to the football split in Liverpool.
On one side of the fence, there are the former Reds manager’s personal and sympathetic traits.
On the day his job at Anfield came to an end in 2010, that team contributed £96,000 to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
It’s the same one that made him cry at the 22nd anniversary tribute in April 2011.
When the team’s 30-year drought for a league title finally ended in June 2020, he sent a simple message of congratulations to those at the club.
The same side that made him uncomfortable letting someone else carry his baggage for him while he was managing Dalian Professional in China.
When his supervisor encouraged him to try a variety of local specialties that didn’t look very appealing appetizers to him at the time, Benitez felt the same awkward, familiar discomfort.
Benitez is claimed to have woofed down the food before politely approving it out of fear of upsetting or embarrassing anyone.
Benitez used to have to mumble transfer reports to journalists over the phone because he didn’t want to wake up his wife, Montse, when on vacation with his family.
Benitez’s human side, in essence, demonstrates that he is a really decent man.
Then there’s his other personality.
The side of the football manager.
One that is unconcerned about the emotional ties that bind us all to this game.
A man so skilled at removing emotion that he once turned down Xabi Alonso’s plea for an extra day off to be with his pregnant wife.
“I told Rafa that I couldn’t go [to Milan]because we were going into labor,” Alonso stated.
“I’d go when everything was in order.” I could have flown to their location and met them there.
“He refused to accept it. I needed to make a choice, and I chose to stay with my family.”
This is the same coach who approached a jubilant Steven Gerrard at a party in the city centre’s Alma de Cuba bar not to congratulate, but to offer further tactical tips just. The summary comes to a close.