Rafael Benitez : Predestined Success

By: JoeReds

Rafael Benitez is something of an anomaly; while, yes, he had his disappointments as so many do (including a few seasons early on that were dismal), he has actually managed to avoid much of the complications that coaches find themselves having. He has been able to, since the start of his career, learn from his mistakes, craft a style that is very much his own and manage his teams to the best of their abilities. His early years taught him much and he has had more success than many can dare dream of. And this looks to only continue with the times to come.

He began coaching, technically, at the age of thirteen when he oversaw a children's football league. While this was later abandoned for the sake of devoting all energy to the sport, he showed signs even at that tender age of being able to lead. And, in 1979, he was selected to take part in the World Student Games held in Madrid. His first match against Cuba was a win (and he scored a penalty). This success was cut short, however, with the next game, when he was injured and forced out for the season. He would never be able to play professionally after that.

But this did little more than set him on another route, one at which he excelled. Rather than simply removing himself from the sport and giving up, Benitez launched himself into the world of coaching, quickly finding a position on the Real Madrid B team in 1986. It was here that he began to develop his particular style and, during the nine seasons he was there, he managed several important wins and gained respect for his abilities.

Success came early but, as it so often happens, it was followed by problems--rather large ones. When he left the Real Madrid club, he suffered many losses. His one season with the Real Valladolid only resulted in two wins out of the twenty three games. And his following stint with the CA Osasuna ended after only ten games (he lost nine). He then moved on to the CF Extremadura and it is there that he abilities seemed to return. He led them to a second place finish.

Rafael Benitez's climb to success has been startling fast and surprisingly easy. Despite the two failures listed above (which are quite brief when one looks at the span of his career), he has managed to maintain a level of excellence. This is beyond unique; it makes him a class of his own.

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