RAWK Book Review and Competition: Rafa Benitez by Paco Lloret

Posted by Rushian on October 26, 2005, 02:04:27 PM

Rafa Benitez by Paco Lloret
Published by Dewi Lewis Media (UK)
September 2005
Paperback: 224 Pages
ISBN 0-9546843-7-0
RRP £12.99

Written by Paco Lloret, Spanish journalist and close friend of Rafa Benitez, this authorised biography provides a rare and insightful look into the character, philosophy and management style of a man often described in Spain as “a scholar – a football freak”.

Released in Spain last year but now reprinted in English, it includes an updated chapter on last season’s epic Champions League triumph. The book also details Benitez’s upbringing on the outskirts of Madrid, as well as his modest playing career with the team his mother supported (his old fella followed Atletico Madrid). However, with the author being a passionate fan of Valencia, and currently the Head of Sport for Canal Nou, the book unsurprisingly focuses more on Rafa’s managerial career in Spain, and in particular, the internal politics of Valencia which conspired to frustrate and restrict him.

It’s a straightforward read – I finished it within a couple of days and will be of interest to those who follow Spanish football closely, but also those who are interested in gaining a better understanding of Benitez’s tactics and strategies. It confirms Rafa’s obsession with team formations, his steadfast belief in rotation and in placing the team above individual talent – “no player is indispensable, although some are more important than others”.

The meticulous work Benitez puts into preparing his team, having assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, was intriguing and often unnervingly accurate. For example his analysis of Milan – “they get tired, in the second half they deteriorate considerably and we can hurt them through the middle of their defence if we are able to exploit our weapons”. The book does not divulge too much into Benitez’ personal life, though as a relatively private man this is not surprising.

At times Paco Lloret's analysis and understanding of Liverpool FC, whilst brief, did come across a bit thinly. However the real value of this book is that by dissecting and explaining Benitez’s managerial approach in Spain, it is possible to understand and recognise the blue print that he is now attempting to replicate at Liverpool.

© Ian Craig 2005

Thanks to Dewi Lewis Media we have three copies of Paco Lloret's Rafa Benitez to give away. We want to know which was the first club managed by Rafa after leaving his position as coach of Real Madrid's second team? Email your answer (including name and RAWK username) to:


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