Javier Mascherano: Rafa Benitez has been key for me

Javier Mascherano: Rafa Benitez has been key for me


Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano says Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez played a key role in his career and helped him push on when the pair were at Liverpool.

Mascherano arrived in European football at West Ham in January 2007 alongside Carlos Tevez in one of the most controversial moves in Premier League history.

Then-Hammers boss Alan Pardew apparently didn’t see anything in the Argentine international and he signed for Liverpool six months later – his confidence destroyed.

Speaking to Paneka magazine, the Barcelona man said Benitez was the man to lift him from the doldrums and has had a key role in how he career has panned out.

“Benitez lifted me out of a dark hole 20 metres underground and put me up on a high. He is a great person and a teacher as a coach – with him you can learn a lot, if that is what you really want,” he stated.

He added they talk less than they used to at the moment, but the relationship will return to normal when either of them leaves their current club.

“Since we were at the same team we have remained in touch. Our relationship has not changed, although the situation is a bit more uncomfortable now. Someday I will leave Barca, or he will leave Madrid, and it will return to normal. We still talk now, but less often,” he added.