- Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
- Previous Clubs: Real Madrid B, Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura, Tenerife, Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea
- Honours: Spanish Primera Division: 2004, 2002; UEFA Cup: 2004; UEFA Champions League: 2005; European Super Cup: 2005; FA Cup: 2006; FA Community Shield: 2006; Club World Cup: 2010; UEFA Europa League: 2013
2013/14 Italian Serie A Record
Having struggled to make an impression during an ill-fated first spell in Italian football with Inter Milan, Rafa Benitez returned to Serie A with Napoli in May 2013 determined to show his worth.
Benitez's move to Napoli came at a time when his stock was high. The Spaniard had ended a two-year hiatus after his sacking by Inter to step into the Chelsea job after Roberto Di Matteo was fired in November 2012. He battled against dressing-room unrest and supporter unhappiness at his appointment to guide the club to a top-four Premier League finish and a Europa League triumph with victory over Benfica in the final, earning renewed respect from many in the game.
Rafael Benitez: Left Liverpool for Inter Milan.
Gaining a reputation for calm, calculating tactics during a six-year spell with Liverpool, the Spanish boss wrote his name into Anfield folklore when he brought the European Cup back to the club in 2005, though the Premier League title eluded him during his time on Merseyside.
Benitez's work after a playing career that never got off the ground began in 1986 with the Real Madrid B side. Failures in his first roles with Valladolid and Osasuna were turned around by gaining promotion with Segunda side Extremadura and when he was given the job at Valencia, many were shocked. Bringing immediate success to the Mestalla, he won the club's first league title in 31 years and followed it up two years later with another title and a UEFA Cup win.
More immediate success with next club Liverpool followed as he masterminded a Champions League triumph - the Reds' fifth European Cup victory and first in 21 years - in his debut season. His side produced an incredible fight back from 3-0 down at half-time against AC Milan in Istanbul to win on penalties. Benitez followed it up with an FA Cup win in another thrilling shoot-out against West Ham the following year.
Benitez endured a strained relationship with American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett after they bought the club from David Moores in 2007, though the acquisition of Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid proved a major coup for the Spanish boss. With Torres on song, Benitez looked on course to win Liverpool's first Premier League title in 2008-09 but despite the Reds sitting top of the table in April and boasting a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, Manchester United reined in their rivals in to lift the crown.
The following season, Benitez ''guaranteed'' at least a fourth-placed finish, but the Reds ended up out of Europe in seventh and he moved on to a new challenge in Italy with Inter Milan, much to the despair of the adoring Liverpool faithful.
Criticised almost immediately for failing to start the season well with Inter, Benitez claimed the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi; a competition described as a 'must win' by Nerazzurri president Massimo Moratti. However, Benitez was not compared favourably with Jose Mourinho - who won the Champions League with Inter months earlier - and as results failed to dramatically improve, the Spaniard found himself out of a job in December 2010, six months after taking the job.
For the next two years, Benitez was linked with every major vacancy in football - from Southampton to Russia, to PSG - but after biding his time and insisting he would wait for the right opportunity, Chelsea provided him with just that in November 2012.
Strengths: Benitez is tactically excellent and as committed to the cause as you could be. He now has a host of experience to draw upon.
Weaknesses: His record in the transfer market is poor (Fernando Torres aside) with expensive errors such as Robbie Keane and Albert Riera dogging him, while he often waits too long to change things around when his side is looking for a result. Very single-minded when he thinks he is right.
Career high: Leading Liverpool back from 3-0 down at half-time to win the 2005 Champions League.
Career low: Being sacked by Inter Milan after just half a season as he struggled to fill the void left by Treble-winning boss Jose Mourinho.
Tactics: A fan of playing quick wide men with a lone striker, Benitez moved away from the traditional 4-4-2 and usually paired a ball winner with a sublime passer in the centre of midfield.
Quotes: ''I am a loner with a laptop.'' Benitez on his obsession with football tactics.
Trivia: Benítez became the third coach to win UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League in succession after winning the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool a year after his UEFA Cup triumph with Valencia. Bob Paisley and Jose Mourinho are the other two men to have achieved the feat.
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