The Rafa Benitez saga continued yesterday, as he demanded answers from Liverpool’s ownership about his status for next season. The speculation this weekend was that he had a secret deal in place to take over at Juventus and give the Italian club the high profile manager they were seeking, but so far that rumor has yet to come true. UPDATE: Goal.com is reporting he is negotiating with ownership over transfers today.
Liverpool’s on-field results and the contentious ownership situation at Anfield suggests the possibility that Benitez leaves the EPL club after this season. This begs the question of whether Juventus should hire him to manager their club if he’s available. He fits the high-profile requirement, but would his hiring do more harm than good for Juve?
Before coming to the English Premiere League, Bentiez saw great success as manager of Valencia, guiding the club to its first La Liga title in thiry-one years in 2002 and a UEFA Cup trophy in 2004 (as well as a second La Liga title). But his time in the Spanish league was cut short due to his disagreement with Valencia’s management over player signings, leading to his excellent “I asked for a table and they bought me a lampshade” quote.
His first two years at Liverpool started off with a bang, winning a Champions League trophy and FA Cup. But from 2007 until today his tenure has been rather lackluster. His club finished second in the Prem last season, but this season has been nothing short of a disaster. Liverpool currently sits in seventh, two points off a European tournament spot.
Benitez is hard on players, and maybe his no-prisoners attitude would be good for a club that loves to send players to the national squad but not win trophies. If nothing else, the Inter-Juve matches would be wonderful for the press: Benitez and Jose Mourinho have a history from their English soccer days. But his success at the international level is something that Juve fans seek, especially watching Inter advance to the Champions League final.
But would he torpedo the club? The fall of Liverpool from second to seventh this season has stirred up his critics. His decision to “replace” Xabi Alonso with Alberto Aquilani has been a disaster. Critics contend that he has failed to adequately prepare for injuries to aging players such as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. This criticism is particularly relevant since Juventus has a number of older starters. Plus, he has a tendency every few years to blame management for not allowing him to sign players he likes and threaten to leave.
But what do you think?