Rafa Benitez twice turned down the opportunity to take over as Real Madrid boss when he was in charge of Liverpool, his agent has revealed.
The now Napoli boss was approached in 2008 and 2009 by Los Blancos, according to Manuel Garcia Quilon, but decided to stay on Merseyside because his family was settled and enjoyed the strong bond they had with the Reds fans.
Benitez started his career as a coach in the Real Madrid youth set up and has gone on to have huge success in the game, winning the Champions League and Europa League among a host of trophies.
Real were going through a tougher spell at the time and were struggling to find the right manager to take them forward – Bernd Schuster, Juande Ramos, and Manuel Pellegrini all came and left in fairly quick succession.
It was during that period that Florentino Perez twice sounded about Benitez on taking the job.
Garcia Quilon said: “Rafa was for two consecutive years given the chance to become coach of Real Madrid. We received a very interesting proposal from the Blancos five years ago and the year before that.
“In order to convince him to accept the offer, Florentino Perez flew out in person with a private jet to England. He tried, without success, to convince Rafa’s wife Montse to follow her husband in this new adventure. However, as Rafa had just renewed his contract with Liverpool and is a man of his word, he turned down the offer from his beloved Real Madrid despite the fact it was the best economic and sporting proposal he’d ever received.”