Thursday, March 19, 2009

Real reason why rafa choose to stay

Rafael Benitez says passionate demonstrations of support from Liverpool fans convinced him to remain at Anfield.

The Spaniard has finally signed a four-year contract extension worth around £20 million that will keep him at the club until 2014.
At times this season, Benitez has appeared unlikely to remain at Liverpool beyond the summer, with the contract redrafted at least eight times.
However, Benitez says he can now look forward to bringing more success to Liverpool’s fans – who have backed him throughout his turbulent rows with the club’s board.
“I am really pleased for me, for my family and hopefully for the fans,” said Benitez. “It was a very easy decision for me to take because I only ever wanted to stay at this football club.”
Splits in the club’s hierarchy have widened over the last 18 months or so, with 'dirty linen' being increasingly aired in public.
But Benitez says meeting with one supporter in particular confirmed why his future lay at Anfield.
“Last week I met with a supporter who carries a flag to every game,” said Benitez. “The flag has a picture of me on it and the Spanish phrase ‘siempre es possible’ and it is flown at all our home games.
“I saw it at the Bernabeu also when we played Real Madrid and I met the supporter who owns the flag at Melwood last week.
“He was telling me ‘you must sign’ and saying ‘I hope it is for 10 years' but then he was changing his mind ‘no, no 20 years’.
“It was really funny but it also showed the incredible passion of the Liverpool fans and the support that they give to their manager. I also remember the Porto game last season when the fans demonstrated for me. That is something I will never forget.”
Looking back over the contract negotiations, which at one time caused bookmakers to suspend betting on Benitez’s departure, he added: “Because of the uncertainty it was a difficult time. The conversations went on for a long time and because of that I was a bit worried.
“But I never thought of leaving and in the end it has all been sorted out thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.
“From the very beginning everyone knew that I wanted to stay here. But it took a bit longer for everything to be concluded because there were certain issues that we needed to be clarified.”

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