Lifebogger presents the Full Story of a Football Manager best known by the Nickname; ‘Raf’.
Our Rafa Benitez Childhood Story plus Untold Biography Facts bring to you a full account of notable events from his childhood time to date.
The analysis of the Legendary Football Manager involves his life story before fame, family life and many OFF and ON-Pitch little-known facts about him. Now, without further ado, let’s Begin.
Rafa Benitez Childhood Story – Early Life:
Rafael Benítez Maudes was born on 16th April 1960 in Madrid, where his parents, Francisco and Rosario, had lived all their lives. He has an older brother, Francisco Javier, and a younger sister, María del Rosario.
As a kid, Rafa knew how to mix both studies and football. He still has many good memories of his time at the ‘San Buenaventura School’ in Madrid, especially those with the football team.
Rafa became Madrid School Champions when he was 12. It was the first trophy of his football career.
Rafa Benitez Biography Facts – Achieving his Childhood Dream:
The following year after lifting the Madrid School Campion Trophy, he successfully achieved the childhood dream that everyone prayed they had.
At 13 years old, Rafa joined the Real Madrid Academy through a competition called ‘Social Tournament’. From here he joined Castilla U-15, a reserve team of Real Madrid.
After many years of effort and dedication with Castilla, he later joined the Real Madrid U-18 team where he excelled and won the Spanish Championship.
Rafa Benitez Family Facts:
Starting off, Rafa Benitez’s Dad was always a strong Atlético de Madrid supporter, while his mother always supported Real Madrid.
Even though they followed rival teams, both parents supported him with equal passion and dedication when he joined the ranks of Real Madrid aged 13.
Despite the fact he joined his rival team, his father always empathised with the ‘red and white mattress’ (Atlético).
About Montse – Rafa Benitez Wife:
While he was working at the ‘Abasota Gym’ in Madrid, Rafa met his wife, Montse. They married in 1998 and are still together.
They have two daughters, Claudia and Agata.
Rafa Benitez Untold Bio – Wasn’t all about Football:
In his childhood, he enjoyed all kinds of sports. He’d play endless games of football in the street and at school.
But it wasn’t all football; he also loved basketball, handball, judo and swimming. he’d always compete to win.
He was pretty good at regularly taking home a medal. In my spare time, he used to play board games like chess or ‘Stratego’, a very popular game at the time based on military strategy.
Rafa Benitez Education:
Throughout his progressing football career, Rafa never neglected his education, which was very important to him.
All 2000 pesetas (12 euros) he earned as a wage through playing football was saved to pay for his university fees.
Naturally, his degree was known to be in Physical Education, which he studied at the INEF in Madrid.
He balanced his university studies with my playing career.
This meant a 45-minute run every day, from the Complutense University campus, through to corridors of the Metro, to finally arrive at the Real Madrid Training Ground.
Needless to say, he never needed to warm up before training.
Rafa Benitez Biography Facts – The University Games and Injury:
Rafa progressed from the U-18 team to Real Madrid’s third team, Real Madrid Aficionado.
In 1979, whilst playing there, he received the call to join the Spanish National University Team to participate in the ‘Universiada’, an Olympic Games-style tournament between students of different countries, held in Mexico.
During the tournament, he suffered a knee injury and couldn’t play again for over six months. He never fully recovered. He saw an unexpected expiry date coming for his playing career.
Following the injury, Real Madrid sent him on loan to AD Parla in the 3rd Division. He played there for four years. Although they were good times and his team achieved the League title and promotion.
However, Rafa continued to have relapses of his knee injury. He left Madrid for the first time and signed for Linares of Jaén (2ª División B) where his knee continued to give him lots of problems, causing his playing ability to suffer.
Finally, he decided to put an end to his career as a footballer at the early age of 26.
Life After Football Career Retirement:
Looking back now, He had always enjoyed acting as a player coach even as a footballer.
He never realised that his true calling lay hidden, that during his playing career he was developing the skills for what would be his future career: coaching football.
Rafa Benitez Untold Biography Facts – The Hustle for Monies:
At that time of retirement from football, Rafa observed he did not earn enough to make a living through football alone.
Once he finished my degree, he became a PE teacher in several schools in Madrid and later in a secondary school in Linares.
When he returned to Madrid, he worked for five years as a Technical Director in various gyms and also worked as a coach at the Real Madrid Academy.
Rafa Benitez Untold Biography Facts – The Managerial Career:
At a time when Luis Molowny was General Manager of Real Madrid, Ramón Martínez was Director of Football and Vicente Del Bosque was the Technical Director of Football; Rafa became the coach of Real Madrid U-19.
With this team, he won two Cup titles and a league title in three seasons. It seemed that finally, his coaching career was moving forward.
His achievements with the U-19 led him to be placed in charge of Castilla CF in the 2nd division. Later, He became assistant to Vicente Del Bosque with the First Team.
As a young coach who had never been an elite player, reaching the team bench as assistant whilst at Real Madrid was as far as he could hope to achieve.
He decided to move forward and take his own path, leaving behind the ‘white house’.
Real Valladolid had recently been relegated to the second division. They chose him to help them regain entry to the top level. It was a great challenge and opportunity for him at a professional level.
Rafa Benitez Biography – Building the Foundation:
During the preseason with Real Valladolid, he built a team with young players from ‘his’ Castilla, such as Marcos, Antía, Santamaría and Fernando. He had a strong squad that was tough enough to confidently face anything in the second division.
Shortly before the competition began however, two teams from ‘La Liga’ were punished with relegation having failed to pay their debts.
Real Valladolid was one of the teams selected to take their vacant positions and was promoted up to ‘La Liga’.
Being promoted to ‘La Liga’, with just 15 days to go before the start of the season and with the squad ready to play in a lower category, his team had no time to react.
The team played well but obviously, there were not prepared to compete in ‘La Liga’. They needed more time, preparation and experience.
The directors began to get nervous and decided that a change of coach was needed. This was when he witnessed his first dismissal as a football coach.
The following season he joined Atlético Osasuna (Pamplona) and faced similar issues.
Objectives changed at the last minute, Rafa expected to gain promotion to ‘La Liga’, signings were hurried, everyone was nervous and suddenly he was deemed too ‘young and inexperienced’.
Despite being the same age and level of experience as he was when hired; the club decided, in the ninth week, that he was not suitable for their needs.
Though times were tough, Rafa did not give in. He was more determined than ever to prove what he could do.
Rafa Benitez The Promotion King:
I needed to join a team that would have faith in him and let me get to work.
In Almendralejo (Badajoz), Extremadura FC gave him that opportunity and he got them promoted to ‘La Liga’. It was another step forward achieved by all those who had worked so hard.
My next challenge was another second-division team who had their eye on promotion, Tenerife.
Despite that season being the hardest ever recorded in the second division, they were promoted to ‘La Liga’ in an epic final game in Leganés. Thanks again to Rafa.
Rafa Benitez Untold Biography Facts – The First Big Contract:
After excelling by promoting teams to the La Liga, the ‘young and inexperienced’ Rafa now had top-level experience and Valencia gave him his first ‘big contract’.
After 31 years without winning, he led them to take the League title back to the city of Turia River.
Although the second season saw no trophies, we were rewarded with a third season full of them: another League Title and the UEFA Cup.
In those days, the Spanish league was at its peak. Those were the days of Real Madrid’s ‘Galácticos’, a great Barcelona, the mythical ‘SuperDepor’, a strong Atlético Madrid and a powerful Sevilla.
All were prestigious rivals who did not make the game easy for Rafa. But, once again, his hard work gave him the expected results.
Rafa Benitez Bio – Life at Liverpool:
After what he termed his last season at Valencia, Rafa decided to take on numerous new challenges, including the challenge of coaching abroad.
Coaching in the Premier League had always been a dream for him, so when an opportunity arose to sign up at Liverpool FC, he jumped at the chance.
When Rafa signed his contract with Liverpool in June 2004, he was proud to become the first Spanish coach in the prestigious British competition. This was the start of what many call ‘Rafa’s love affair with Liverpool’.
During his time at Anfield, he won four important titles including that magic night in Istanbul, which saw the Champions League trophy come to Merseyside.
He also reached three finals and won second place in the race for the Premier League with 86 points, a historical record for the club.
After 6 glorious seasons, he had to leave Liverpool for various reasons. Life had to go on. So, in June 2010 he packed my bags and left for Italy to become coach of Inter Milan.
Rafa Benitez Biography Facts – Life at Inter Milan:
Within five intense months of managing Inter, Rafa won the Italian Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Despite this success, it was not enough for the executive team who never backed him from the beginning.
They reached an agreement to terminate Rafa’s contract early and for him to part ways with them.
After Rafa experiences with Milan, he returned home to Merseyside (Liverpool) to live there. There, Rafa started ‘The Montse Benítez Charitable Foundation’ with his wife. The foundation was created to help raise funds to share to different charities in Merseyside and the Wirral.
In September 2011, Rafa was very proud to be awarded the Golden Club Crest by Valencia; which was presented to him by the President, Manuel Llorente, before the match against Barcelona at the Mestalla.
Rafa Benitez Bio – The Football Technology Master:
Rafa had always looked for ways to integrate technology into the sport from day one of his coaching career. While he was still waiting for a big offer, he took his time to develop a technology which he called ‘Globall Coach’.
This technology aided in the development of football tactics and team management. Globall Coach was designed with professional coaches in mind and was released in February 2012.
He also took that opportunity to write a book of himself that period. Rafa’s book, ‘Champions League Dreams’ was released on September 2012. Chelsea FC admired it thus gave him a call. This saw a return to his coaching career.
Rafa Benitez Biography Facts – Life at Chelsea FC:
Rafa joined Chelsea in November 2012 and worked hard with the team to instil the highest standards and challenge for honours.
Today, he is proud of the personal and professional achievement of managing the team to victory at the UEFA Europa League Final in Amsterdam on May 15th.
He is also proud of successfully achieving the goal of securing a spot in the UEFA Champions League football group stages for Chelsea FC and for finishing in third place of the Premier League.
Despite his achievement, Chelsea fans still hated him and showed all sorts of banners wanting him out.
This was because he rivalled them so much when he was Liverpool manager. Rafa decided to leave them after so much hate.
Rafa Benitez Biography Facts – Life at Napoli:
From 1st July 2013 till June 2015 , Rafa was in charge of SSC Napoli. He won two more trophies to his list of successes.
In his first season, he beat Fiorentina (3-1) in the final of the Copa Italia at the Olympic stadium in Rome.
Also in the last season, he won the Italian Super Cup beating Juventus (5-6 on penalties after a 2 2 draw in Doha, Qatar).
Nearly two decades after his departure from Real Madrid as a player and coach, the club he called home for 17 years – He was appointed to be the first team coach of Real Madrid CF in June 2015.
Seven months later, he was again forced to leave a club that was so important for him. Thanks to Real Madrid Politics.
Rafa Benitez Bio – Going Back to the Promotion Business:
In March 2016, Rafa started on a new challenging project in managing Newcastle United F.C.
His return to the Premier League after three years of coaching abroad was to be an important challenge. This time he went back to his old business.
That is ‘Building the foundations that will allow the return of Newcastle United FC to the higher echelons of the Premier League’.
This was a place well deserved for this historic English club. Rafa achieved this and proved his doubters wrong.
THE REST THEY SAY IS HISTORY…
Rafa Benitez’s wife Jose Mourinho – The Issues and Untold Story:
This was said after her husband was appointed by Real Madrid. It also comes after Benitez is seen to have taken charge of a third team which was formerly managed by Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho, however, delivered a devastating response to Rafa Benitez’s wife after she claimed her then Real Madrid boss husband is always “tidying up his messes”.
The Ex- Chelsea boss hit back saying: “If she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me.”