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Rafa Benitez returns to World’s top ranked managers list

4 years ago

Rafa Benitez has returned to this listing of the world’s top managers.

Each year, FourFourTwo do a detailed overview looking at the performance and stature of the best football bosses around the globe.

From that they arrive at their top 50.

They have started rolling out their summer 2017 rankings and Rafa Benitez makes it into the list at number 33.

If you are a Newcastle fan you may think he deserves higher but when you look at those in the positions around him, he has done pretty well as a promoted manager of a Championship team.

Only two places ahead of Rafa Benitez is Arsene Wenger, his Arsenal team finished fifth in the Premier League and won the FA Cup for the third time in four years.

Whilst three places above Rafa is the new Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde.

Last summer, Rafa Benitez didn’t even make the top 50 managers for summer 2016 as Newcastle were relegated, whilst a year earlier (summer 2015) after taking over at Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world, Rafa was ranked no.36 – three places lower(!) than his ranking in these summer 2017 rankings now with NUFC.

FourFourTwo write-up on Rafa Benitez -Summer 2017

‘For someone who’s largely been painted as a cold-hearted, technocratic tactics robot, Benitez doesn’t half know how to win the unrequited adoration of a fanbase.

At Liverpool, he remains one of the Anfield faithful’s most treasured managers. Their fondness stems not only from the 2005 Istanbul triumph and the majestic, oh-so-nearly side of 2008/09, but the way Benitez embraced the club and the city (not to mention going to war on behalf of LFC against a parasitic ownership regime and losing his job as a result).

In Newcastle, a similar story has played out: a club in Britain’s old industrial heartlands, left behind by the finances and money of the Premier League era, has been reinvigorated by a tubby touchline tactician. Apathy has become enthusiasm.

Given how he’s been kicked about by the game – his treatment at Inter, Chelsea and boyhood club Real Madrid were especially brutal – it’s pleasing to note how the twinkly eyed romantic within Benitez has not just survived in recent years, but grown more conspicuous.

None of this is to mention that he’s a fine and high-pedigree coach, too. Last season’s promotion at the first time of asking was what you would expect from a manager with eight major trophies in three countries. Provided there are no table/lamp shade disputes anytime soon (always a latent danger with Mike Ashley), expect Newcastle to make eyes at the Premier League’s top half.’

FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017 (the ratings released so far):

26 Rui Victoria (Benfica)

27 Unai Emery (PSG)

28 Jorge Jesus (Sporting Lisbon)

29 Giovanni Van Bronckhurst (Feyenoord)

30 Ernesto Valverde (Barcelona)

31 Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

32 Eduaro Berizzo (Sevilla)

33 Rafa Benitez (Newcastle United)

34 Thomas Tuchel (No club at minute)

35 Senol Gunes (Besiktas)

36 Kurban Berdyev (Rubin Kazan)

37 Brendan Rodgers (Celtic)

38 Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)

39 Diego Alonso (Pachuca)

40 Michael O’Neill (Northern Ireland)

41 Phillip Cocu (PSV)

42 Marco Silva (Watford)

43 Mark Sampson (England Women)

44 Massimo Carrera (Spartak Moscow)

45 Guillermo Almada (Barcelona – The one in Ecuador!)

46 Barak Bakhar (Hapoel Be’er Sheva)

47 Christian Streich (Freiburg)

48 Emma Hayes (Chelsea Ladies)

49 Gheorgehe Hagi (Viitorul Constanta)

50 David Wagner (Huddersfield)

FourFourTwo write-up on Rafa Benitez – Summer 2015 – Ranked No.36 in world

‘Eyebrows were raised when Real Madrid decided to replace Carlo Ancelotti with Benitez this summer – and not just the Italian’s. Just a year after winning los Blancos’ fabled 10th European Cup, Ancelotti was dispensed in favour of a man who hasn’t won a single league title in over a decade.

The current perception of Benitez as a bumbling oddity is somewhat unfair, though.

Yes, 2014/15 was clearly not the most successful season of his career, with Napoli exiting the Champions League in the qualifiers, finishing fifth in Serie A and coming unstuck against unfancied Dnipro in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

When he was hired by the Partenopei two years ago and given the funds to sign the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens, most expected them to challenge for a scudetto rather than trying to scrape into the top three.

Nevertheless, the 55-year-old is clearly an extremely talented coach. Breaking La Liga’s duopoly by winning not one, but two titles with Valencia in 2002 and 2004 was an astonishing achievement, as was reaching two Champions League finals in three years with Liverpool.

Benitez may just surprise a few people in Spain next term.’


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