Rafa Benitez has joined Real Madrid to tidy up another mess of Jose Mourinho’s making, according to the Spanish coach’s wife.
The former Napoli boss, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this summer, has now succeeded Mourinho at three different clubs, having previously taken charge at Inter and Chelsea.
And Montserrat Seara believes it seems almost fated that Benitez should continue to join clubs in the Portuguese coach’s wake.
“We tidy up his messes,” she joked, speaking to La Region. “If you think about it, of course you end up crossing paths. There are only a few world-class clubs out there.”
Seara, a law professor from the northern region of Galicia, says her husband’s passion for the game remains unabated despite the difficult circumstances of his time with Napoli.
“On our first date, Rafa explained to me what a 4-4-2 was. He finds it hard to stay away from the game,” she said. “The year we spent at home he helped coach the local school team. It was hilarious. He stood on the sidelines and shouted at them as if they were first division players, waving his arms about. He doesn’t see football as work, it’s his passion.
“It was hard to see each other over the winter in Napoli. There were no direct flights and it was complicated. Things will be much easier now in Madrid.”
Seara also believes Benitez’s infamous tendency to tinker with his starting line-ups left him hugely unpopular with a handful of fans by the end of his spell with Liverpool.
“Even I don’t know them,” she said of his tactics. “Sometimes I ask him, who’s going to play? He says he doesn’t know yet. They criticised him at Liverpool for constantly tweaking his starting XI. I thought his two best friends in England were going to kill him.”
She does, however, believe Benitez has a long career in the game still to come.
“I don’t know if he’ll ever retire,” she added. “All being well, he has 20 years of football left.”