Rafael Benitez hits back at Steven Gerrard comment

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Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has told reporters Steven Gerrard is wrong to claim he did not like the Liverpool captain during his time as head coach at Anfield.

In his new book, My Story - which is currently being serialised by the Daily Mail - Gerrard has claimed: "I don't think Rafa Benitez liked me as a person. I'm not sure why, but that's the feeling I got from him."

But Benitez insists Gerrard's statement is nonsense - and believes it's simply a ploy to encourage more people to buy his new autobiography.


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"I have read the quotes and I believe he is wrong," Benitez told Spanish television, according to the Daily Mail. "Out of the respect that I have for Stevie and for the value and appreciation I have for him, and for Liverpool and the supporters, I think it's best to just let it pass.

"He has brought out a book and now I'm the Real Madrid manager, that sells."

Benitez appreciated and respected Gerrard

Gerrard also described the Spanish coach, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeu earlier this summer, as - per BBC Sport - "emotionless and distant".

Although Benitez is not what you might describe as an arm-around-the-shoulder manager, the 55-year-old was important for Gerrard's career and helped the all-action midfielder win several major trophies during his six years at Anfield - including, memorably, the Champions League in 2005.

He also wrote a warm tribute for Gerrard in the Daily Mail back in January - after it was announced the midfielder would be leaving Anfield for Major League Soccer - although hinted the feeling of respect might not be mutual.

"Whatever he does next, I’m sure he’ll be a huge success," Benitez commented. "And now that he is approaching the end of his career at Liverpool, I can safely say a huge: ‘Well done!’ And hopefully he knows just how much I appreciated him."

It will be interesting to see how Gerrard responds to Benitez's new accusation. Watch this space.

Liverpool fans: was Steven Gerrard wrong to criticise Rafael Benitez in his new autobiography? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!

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