Benitez bids Liverpool farewell

2010-06-03 17:38

Liverpool - Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has left Anfield by mutual consent, the Premier League club confirmed on Thursday.

The 50-year-old's position had been in doubt since it emerged on Wednesday that talks over his future with Reds chairman Martin Broughton and managing director Christian Purslow had broken down.

His departure had looked inevitable after reports emerged that he had fallen out with the Anfield hierarchy over the lack of funds available to him to rebuild a squad which finished seventh in the Premier League last season and failed to get past the group stage of the Champions League.

Benitez had suggested he would require in excess of £50m to put the club back in contention for the Champions League places and even more to contend for the Premier League title.

But he was reportedly told that only £15m would be available for signings because Liverpool had failed to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.

Liverpool have agreed a settlement with him over the remainder of his four-year contract, which was said to include a £16m severance clause.

Benitez, who had been in charge of Liverpool since 2004 and guided them to Champions League glory in 2005, admitted he was disappointed to be leaving.

"It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts," he told the club's website.

"I'll always keep in my heart the good times I've had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool.

"I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.

"Thank you so much once more and always remember: You'll never walk alone."

It has also been suggested that Benitez had lost the support of key players after Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano were all strongly linked with moves away from Merseyside.

With Inter Milan keen on luring Benitez to the San Siro to take over after Jose Mourinho's switch to Real Madrid, the Liverpool boss has no reason to stay where he is not wanted.

Benitez joined Liverpool in 2004 after a successful spell with Valencia and led the club to a famous Champions League final victory over AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

But although he won the FA Cup a year later and returned to the Champions League final in 2007, where the Reds were beaten by AC Milan, it is Benitez's failure to end Liverpool's 20-year wait for the league title that started to rankle with fans who had previously been steadfast in their support for him.

He was unable to build on a second-placed finish in 2008-09 and Liverpool ended last season 23 points behind champions Chelsea.

Broughton gave thanks to Benitez for his achievements in Europe but crucially made it clear that his failure to mount a strong challenge for the Premier League title had played a major role in his depature.

He said: "Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul but after a disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned."

Club Ambassador Kenny Dalglish, a former Liverpool player and manager, will assist Broughton in the search for a successor to Benitez.

Roy Hodgson, who led unfashionable Fulham to the UEFA Cup final, Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill and Turkey coach Guus Hiddink are among the leading contenders to take over at Anfield.


  • LL COOL J - 2010-06-03 18:11

    Bring us Guss Hiddink please by Benitez we no longer needed u u made us walk alone many times

  • SAGE - 2010-06-03 18:30

    Oh happy day...that news is better than the soccer world cup! Bring Guus Hiddink or Bob Bradley and get this current squad back to its peak fitness and technical ability. We don't need more players, just less Bernitez!

  • YNWA - 2010-06-03 18:46

    Good riddance, Take Gerrard, Torres, Lucas, Babel, Ngog, Insua. If you dont have passion, then dont play for the team. Anyway, thank you for Istanbul. We won it 5 times!!!!!!

  • LFC - 2010-06-03 19:05

    I predict a 13th position for Liverpool next season followed by relegation the next. Happy days are here.....

  • TorresIsBoss - 2010-06-03 19:22

    It's about damn time. I couldn't take another season with this guy as coach. Now I prey they get Guus Hiddink or Martin O'Neil

  • Moose - 2010-06-03 20:23

    After 6 up & down seasons, it may well be time for Raffa to go. But the financial situation is a real one. If LFC want to compete, we need to provide the new manager with the fair amount of resource. This is the most critical time in our history; we run the risk of slipping into a mediocre club!!! We watch with great interest!!

  • Oszee - 2010-06-03 20:41

    I cnt say thanx enuf 4 lettin Benitez go...'proud supporter'

  • Andrew - 2010-06-03 23:03

    I'm not a Liverpool fan, but its good to see that most of you (except Moose) didn't use the excuse of no money for players as you're failures. You've had a good squad for the last 3 seasons. Rafa was the problem, he just couldn't seem to manage more than one championship at a time. For the love of good football I hope you have a great upcoming season

  • dean b - 2010-06-04 06:22

    you can bring who you want as a new manager if you have no money you shall not succeed.

  • AJ - 2010-06-04 08:01

    @YNWA: You could not have said it better! Gerrad was the biggest disapointment and only he will know how he made it to the WC! As for the rest of circus, they had a chance to make a name for themselves but they also fell on the excuse that players should have been bought etc...Bunch of whiners!

  • Shankly - 2010-06-04 08:27

    @ dean b - totally agree, new leadership, new sponsor, hopefully new owners and who knows could be the start of a new beginning for LFC "when u walk through the storm, hold your head up high and dont be afraid of the dark, at the end of the storm theres a golden sky and sweet silver song of a lark, WALK ON THROUGH THE WIND, WALK ON THROUGH THE RAIN, for your dreams be tossed and blown, WALK ON, WALK ON, with hope in your hearts and YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE, YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE"

  • Disgusted - 2010-06-04 08:47

    Adios Rafa! I think he's one of the most extravagant managers I've ever heard of. How much did he spend on buying players in the last two season alone? Only Man City spent more to build their team for the just ended season.otherwise, Rafa has spent far more than any other club for the last 3/4 seasons.even in the January xfer window, he splashed so much on one spanish player, and yet his squad needed a lot more than just the one player! if I were the one providing the funds, I would have begun to doubt his management style.

  • TRUE Red - 2010-06-04 09:43

    Well said Shankly & dean b - we will weather the storm, mark my words - hoping King Kenny takes over, if not, Hiddink or O'Niell

  • Lanza - 2010-06-04 09:52

    Xmas so early ????? Whooohoooooo!!! What about getting Carlos Alberto Perriera in??

  • Shankly's Kin - 2010-06-04 10:09

    What's wrong with you guys? Have you no loyalty? The guy made us a force in Europe again, and did okay in the league (this past season). I don't see a top class coach coming into this mess. You want O'Neil or Hodgson, then get ready to settle for mediocrity. Hiddink won't come (tied to Turkey). I'll have to agree with YNWA. This might just be the start of a nasty end. Gerrard, Masch, Torres will all leave. The club is being dismantled. The only person who can keep this together is King Kenny (from what I've read, he might be the interim coach). I think he'll be the only one can persuade the spine of the team to stay because he is such a legend. But he should take up the position permanently, at least just until things are stable (that could be a long time). I really think the current senior players will respond to him positively. King Kenny for the Job, please.

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