Rafael Benítez passes on his best wishes to Zinedine Zidane

Sacked Real Madrid coach expresses no bitterness in parting statement

Rafa Benítez expressed gratitude to everyone he worked with at Bernabéu. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Rafa Benítez expressed gratitude to everyone he worked with at Bernabéu. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

 

Rafael Benítez has expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to manage Real Madrid and wished his successor Zinedine Zidane well.

The former Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea and Napoli manager was replaced by Zidane on Monday after a disappointing seven-month, 25-match spell as boss. He won 16 games.

Writing on his personal website, rafabenitez.com, he said: “I would like to wish good luck to Zinedine Zidane, my successor, and his staff. To all the players, coaches and staff in both Valdebebas and Bernabéu, I wish all the best and also good luck.”

Benítez replaced Carlo Ancelotti in June, signing a three-year contact with his home-town club. But the 55-year-old found himself under increasing pressure due to some indifferent performances and damaging defeats, most notably the 4-0 home loss to Barcelona in November.

Benítez’s final game in charge was Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Valencia, a result which left Madrid in third spot in the Primera Division table, four points adrift of leaders Atlético Madrid.

Benítez expressed no bitterness in his parting statement.

“Now, at the end of my time as first-team coach of Real Madrid, I would like to use this article to say goodbye to everyone at every level of the club,” he wrote. “I want everyone at the club from the board of directors, executives, workers and all of the fans, to know that it has been an honour and privilege to be in charge at this club, where I grew up as a person, player and coach from the lowest categories through to the first team.

“As a madridista from Madrid, steeped in the traditions and values of this institution, which I learned in the old sports city of Castellana, it has been an honour to work for these colours.

“I would especially like to thank everyone at the new sports city and the Santiago Bernabeu who, since my first steps through the door, have supported me and made my work easier. Thanks to all for helping.

“With all my respect and thanks . . . HALA MADRID and NOTHING ELSE.”

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