Former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard has lauded Rafa Benitez as the best manager he has worked with in his career.
Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders in his generation, Gerrard has also played under some of the best managers like Gerrard Houllier, Sven Goran Eriksson, and Kenny Dalglish. However, he managed to win the crowning achievement of a Champions League winner’s medal only under the guidance of Benitez. Even though the Spaniard’s reign did not yield a league title, his time at Liverpool was also the most successful for the club in the last decade.
Representing Liverpool over 17 seasons, Gerrard went on to make 710 appearances for the club and he played under five managers. He has worked with more world-class managers with the England national team. Gerrard says that one of the biggest strengths of Benitez was his ability to set up the team in such a way that they were extremely difficult to beat. This was one of the hallmarks of the Liverpool team that won the Champions League in 2005. They also came close to repeating those achievements in 2007, but they were beaten by AC Milan who gained revenge for the earlier defeat in 2005.
Despite having spent 17 seasons in the English Premier League, one of the biggest regrets for Gerrard was failing to win the league title.“Rafa Benítez. Tactically the best. Just in general, setting a team up to play, to deliver the Champions League with the team that we won it with was a miracle and Rafa was a big part of that. He was incredible. I enjoyed working with Kenny (Dalglish), my hero and my dad’s hero. I grew up on him. That was a strange feeling playing for one of your heroes but I loved every minute of it,” said Gerrard.