Thursday, March 12, 2009

Benitez to decide his future in the next two weeks

RAFAEL BENITEZ says he will decide on his future as Liverpool manager within the next two weeks after revealing he will meet the club's owners after tomorrow's Premier League clash with Manchester United.

Benitez appears to have already ruled out the possibility of returning to Real Madrid, the club where he began his short-lived playing career and took his first steps as a coach.

His stock has risen in Spain following Liverpool's 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night. That has rekindled rumours of a return to the Bernabeu -- a possibility that was all but ruled out after the first leg because of the coach's "defensive" style.

But the Spaniard remains irritated at the criticism meted out and insisted: "People who see me leaving for Madrid are wrong. I can't predict my future.

"Real Madrid are a great club but I am at another wonderful club -- one that really motivates me. I have a contract with Liverpool, I owe Liverpool and I am only thinking about Liverpool. I am happy here and there is a project under way. I have been here for five years and (if I did stay) from now on things would be easier. What I want is hard to find in Spain. Long-term projects don't exist there like they do in England."

The message appeared a double-edged sword, however. Benitez made it clear that the offer at Anfield must be right for him to continue and he added: "I will work where I feel I can develop a project."

Stability is the key and Benitez believes he deserves to be granted control, defending his record as coach -- and Liverpool's style since he took over -- as he prepared for a meeting with George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Benitez is a hero now but he is acutely aware that the situation was very different three weeks ago.

"Next week I am going to study my present and my future with my bosses. I have to decide on my future in the next two weeks," he said. "I want a medium or long-term project. I don't want to be working day-to-day, always hanging on the latest result. I want to develop a club over a period of time.

"Competing with Manchester United and Chelsea is very difficult. I am not a cry baby but they have enough money to sign five £20m players and if one or two of them don't succeed, they have three more. I can sign two of them and if one doesn't succeed or I make a mistake with one, then you really notice it," he added.

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