At 62 years old, Rafael Benítez Maudes is an idol in Liverpool thanks to the feat he achieved with his squad in the 04/05 season when they won the Champions League in the historic ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ after overcoming Milan. From England he was with Diario AS to talk about the final on May 28 in France against Real Madrid and remember his first steps as a coach, where Maturana was one of those he followed to learn.
Liverpool and Real Madrid will meet in the Champions League final on the last Saturday of May at the Stade de France (2:00 pm). For the Spanish coach it will be a match in which Klopp’s men will bet on their aggressiveness; whereas, those of Ancelotti will take advantage of the individualities.
“I suppose something similar to what we have seen in the trajectory of the two teams. A Real Madrid that has reacted in the key moments to qualify taking advantage of the quality of its players and an aggressive, dominant Liverpool that will want to impose its quality in intensity from the start”.
Besides, made it clear that the team in which Luis Díaz plays is quite complete “With quality and speed up, now he is able to have the ball for longer due to the superiority they show in most games, but he is still dangerous both on the counterattack and in set pieces, so you have to worry about many things”.
Maturana, one of the referents of Rafa Benítez
What Francisco Maturana has done in football continues to be recognized worldwide, Less than a year ago, the Belgium coach, Roberto Martínez, highlighted him as a reference. Today Benítez does it, who ruled that studying football was his obsession after having retired as a player due to a knee injury. In his training process he had several models to follow and one of them was the Colombian who went through Real Valladolid from 1990 to 1992 (April 7 his departure from the team was confirmed).
“Many people say that I have not played football and yet I played until I was 26, that I had to retire. And during that time, in which he saw that he would not become the elite footballer that he wanted to become, what I did was train myself, go to university, study football. It was my obsession”.
Benítez reminded Maturana referring to the fact that elite soccer players do not always end up being good coaches. “I was trained with my experiences as a footballer, plus the information from the university, my first steps as an assistant to Del Bosque or Antic, I traveled to Italy to see Ranieri from Fiorentina, Maturana in Valladolid… It’s not about being young or famous or being a former soccer player, it’s about being good, be in permanent learning and know how to train the players”.
And he added that, “The problem with football is that it is media coverage and former players have a greater presence in the fans’ minds. And that gives them a head start. But that advantage lasts three months. Then you have to prove more than just being a name. It’s not about being young or famous. But it’s a trend that’s been around for years and now social networks are boosting it: he’s young, a former player, he’s good”.