Rafa signs until 2014.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benítez has signed a new contract with Liverpool, keeping him at the club until 2014.

Rafa’s existing contract had one more season to run after this summer, helping to feed speculation for most of the season that he was going to be managing elsewhere next season.

That speculation reached its peak just before Liverpool’s first-leg win over Real Madrid in the Champions League, with major media outlets reporting Rafa was to leave following that game. But the week ended with a different name on the way out – Rick Parry’s departure at the end of the season was announced on the Friday.

The news was announced officially on the club’s own website at 9pm, allowing just enough time for tomorrow’s back pages to reflect the news. 

Rafa told LiverpoolFC.tv that he was delighted: “My heart is with Liverpool Football Club, so I’m delighted to sign this new deal. I love the club, the fans and the city and with a club like this and supporters like this, I could never say no to staying. I always made clear I wanted to be here for a long time and when I complete my new contract it will mean I have spent over a decade in Liverpool.

“The club is greatly respected around the world due to its incredible history and tremendous heritage. It is my aim to uphold those values and help create a new chapter in our history.”

Rafa’s quotes included an acknowledgement to the club’s owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, for their part in giving him the deal he’d wanted: “Throughout this process, I would like to thank the owners for their hard work in finalising the deal. All of us at the club want the same thing, which is to be successful by winning major trophies.”

Tom Hicks said: “It is wonderful news that Rafa has made a long-term commitment to the football club. Since he became Manager in 2004, he has been responsible for the great progress we have made. I know he will continue to build on his achievements as he has a tremendous hunger and desire to bring more success to the club – success our fans and everyone connected with the club deserves.” Hicks had said at the height of the club’s civil war, last season, that he wanted to give Rafa a new deal.

George Gillett has never made too much of a secret of his true feelings about Rafa, but he still had some good things to say in the official announcement: “With Rafa continuing to manage the team, we can look forward to more great football and success on the pitch. He has special abilities and qualities which are admired here at the club and around the world. Coming after our excellent wins over Real Madrid and Manchester United, this gives us great momentum going into the final stages of the season.”

It also makes Liverpool a more attractive prospect to potential investors, and Rafa’s decision to sign such a long-term deal suggests he felt reassured the turmoil of the past 18 months would soon be resolved.

Another reassurance will have come when Rick Parry’s end-of-season departure was announced, paving the way for Rafa’s contract to include the terms giving him more responsibility that he felt were so important.

Stories this morning suggested Rafa was refusing to sign his contract having already decided to leave for Real Madrid. But the authors of those stories will now be perhaps be questioning how reliable those particular sources were.

17 thoughts on “Rafa signs until 2014.”

  1. I’ve never known a journalist yet eat humble pie, but now is as good a time as any to begin!

    Rafa deserves his contract – as Tomkins pointed out yesterday and recent results suggest – now for the other players to get theirs sorted.

    Still not sure about Rick P going – for all his failings – but those custodians need to sort themselves out so our club can move forward as one.

  2. Excellent news and a long time coming! All the Real Madrid supporters around me here in Spain were forever going on about Benitez, Gerrard and Alonso joining them in the summer…that’ll shut them up!

  3. I must say I’m disappointed. I don’t see how he can win us the league. We threw it away this year and Rafa was 100% to blame. I think the club needed a fresh start under a manager who wants to play attractive winning football.

    I will support him but after 5 years of rubbish football and negative tactics he should have been moved aside.

    Utd will win 2-3 league titles in the next 5 years – we will win 0.

    All my Utd friends reckon the 4-1 defeat was worth it to keep Rafa in charge – says it all really.

  4. I know some people have a very negative view of Benitez because he is seen to always err on the side of caution but I really believe he is the man to be trusted. He has a squad with some tremendous class, most of which is because of his transfer activity, and with the correct financial backing (lord knows if he’ll get it) I believe he could add the quality and width we’re lacking. Of course that’s just my opinion and I understand why some see it differently.

    It’s easy to lose sight of, but he isn’t just competing against United and all they have in their favour; but Chelsea’s millions, and Arsenal’s free flowing play as well. Under Houllier (I might be wrong on this) but did we ever finish ahead of Wenger? Under Rafa it looks like it’s about to happen for the 3rd time in 5 seasons. I know that hasn’t been anywhere near enough to bringing number 19 home but next season will clearly make or break Rafa’s reign.

    Yes there have been some embarrassments along the way, but there have been unimaginable good times as well, and I for one am glad to see him sign up for another five years.

  5. @ Stephen.

    5 Years of rubbish football?!!

    1 CL Trophy.
    1 FA CUP.

    It is not good enough for LFC but even the most fervent of critics have to accept that we have made solid strides since Houlliers last squad and are moving in the right direction.

    We are entering the CL draw tomorrow and are THE team that is on everyones lips when it comes to Europe and have a good a chance as anybody to win it.

    You are clearly frustrated with Rafa but who would you rather have? How would you change his tactics?

    Many of us are frustrated with the inconsistency this season but lets get behind the manager and team as the season is not even over yet.

    Why do you think we will not win the league in the next 5 years?

    This week should have cemented that we can beat anyone. I hope Rafa does learn that the EPL needs a more attack minded team as I sacrifice a few draws for losses if it meant we had overall more wins.

    But saying 5 years of rubbish football is laughable.

  6. 4 1/2 years – 2 trophies – not exactly prolific.

    Istanbul was amazing and the best night of my football following life but we have to look beyond that.

    It is my opinion (and many others I may add) that we play very unattractive football under Benitez. Ask any neutral whether they enjoy wataching Liverpool and they will say no.

    Rafa has shown us over 5 seasons that he doesn’t understand how the beat mid table English teams. He is incapable of learning. In 2004 3 months after he joined everyone was telling him that playing tight football against these teams won’t work and you have to play to win. 4 1/2 years later he still doesn’t get it. The reason we won alot of games earlier this year is because we fell behing and had to go at teams and when we did we destroyed them. But the following week back to defensive structure – keeping it tight and we drew 0-0. Thats why I believe we will not win the league.

    We can beat anyone but most times Rafa holds us back – unfortunately 2 games don’t make a season – win or lose. I make my judgements over 4 1/2 years.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  7. @ Stephen.

    Tend to agree with you pal. Im not a huge Rafa fan as everyone on here knows.

    But he’s signed and from a stability basis that can only be a good thing. He does seem to have formed some kind of bond with Mr Hicks and after listening to Hicks today on LFC tv i do get a positive vibe from him.

    I have to say though that the next two seasons will be crucial for Benitez. If he doesnt deliver the Premier league title then he has got to go. He has no more excuses left. He will be (albeit for the financial side of things) responsible for all transfers etc and all on the pitch matters, so he will have no excuses what so ever if he does fail us.

    I can see good and bad in the next five years. I wish him well. He now has every chance to become a legend and possible the greatest manager we have ever had.

    He also has every chance to crash and burn.

    We shall see.

    Good luck Mr B, do us proud, youve got your way now give us what we deserve.

    Looking forward to Sunday, i think the atmosphere will be tremendous.

  8. @ Stephen

    Ok the season could have been so much more but how many times does a team hold the top position from the beginning to end of the season?

    The number one ranked team in Europe.

    The team that’s closed the gap on two teams above us that spend sums we, Rafa, can only dream about.

    The team that’s just done the double over Chelsea – breaking their home record – and United – breaking a 73 year old record.

    The team that’s been in two Champions league finals in 4 years, when Fergie’s only managed to be in one

    The team that scored more goals last year than we’re ever given credit for.

    I think those Liverpool fans bleating about the trophy cabinet – need to look again, consider the relative merits and be glad that we’ve secured Rafa on a new contract.

  9. I agree with the trophy count. As Liverpool fans we demand and expect the very highest. The past 5 years have not set the world alight, but in that time we must remember just how much the landscape of football has changed. Chelsea have taken spending to a new level.

    Rafa has also needed to build his own squad as the last one he inherited from Houllier needed major surgery, although I cant stand the rotating door policy of too many players just staying a single year.

    I do think that we have a good platform to make the next five years signifcantly better.

    Every Reds fan has been longing for us to make a real challenge for the league and I agree with you regarding the mid table teams. This week has been incredible watching both Man U and Real being put to the sword, but it does beg the question regarding consistency against the lesser teams. There is a feel good factor now and I hope that sustains a strong finish to the year. A 6th CL crown would be a great end to the season.

    In the league we need to go for broke paricularly in the last 15 minutes to make those frustrating draws into a win, as our defence is solid enough for us to take more risks. We are light up front and without Torres and Gerrard, who do we really have to take control of a game?

    Gerrard has been voicing his frustration at just that and we need some leaders on the pitch to drive the team forward particularly in the last 15 minutes. If it was not for Gerrard we would be at times be an average team. I hope that this week has made the team realise that they should not feel inferior to any team and we MUST focus on achieving consistency.

    We have won at Old Trafford & Stamford Bridge this season in the league which is a huge step in the right direction, but then lost the momentum at Anfield.

    I do think that we have in Rafa one of the best tacticians there is and one of the best managerial talents in the game. He does need to adapt to the EPL and be more attack minded and aggressive…………lets hope he has learnt from this season.

    Now that the supposed shackles for transfer dealings have been removed I hope this summer brings in talent that drive the team forward.

    Man U and Chelsea will add top level talents to their squads. We need to make a statement this summer so I hope Rafa goes for striking options rather than adding to what is already a busy midfield squad.

    But lets get behind the team fully to the end of the season and then judge the progress of Rafa’s fifth season in charge.

  10. Guys a lot of you have been noting the recent unusually positive vibes surrounding our club.

    For me there has been one slight disappointment so far this season i.e. the failure of Babel to realise his potential.

    There have been glimpses of his talent e.g. the gem of a backheel against United & there was a wicked cross earlier in the season. But its been few and far between.

    I really hope that in the remainder of the season the lad will come of age and do the business for us week in week out.

    C’mon Babel!

  11. Quarter-finals
    Villarreal v Arsenal
    Manchester United v Porto
    Liverpool v Chelsea
    Barcelona v Bayern Munich
    Quarter-final ties to be played on 7-8 April and 14-15 April with first leg at first-named club
    Manchester United or Porto v Villarreal or Arsenal
    Barcelona or Bayern Munich v Liverpool or Chelsea
    Semi-final ties to be played on 28-29 April and 5-6 May


  12. I’m so delighted Rafa has signed. He can really build a dynasty here in 10 years and hopefully go beyond that.

    For those slating his winning mentality, he has the same winning record as Paisley (56%)and better than Shankly. He also reached 100 league wins (when beating United) in a faster time than any Liverpool manager in history.

    In the next 5 years if we can win the league once and compete every year I will be grateful.

  13. Should Liverpool take all three points, Benitez will become the third fastest manager in Liverpool’s history to clock up 100 league wins.

    The clash is his 181st in charge and only legendary duo Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish can boast a better record.

    Dalglish’s 100th victory came in his 167th game, while Paisley’s arrived in his 179th.

    Bill Shankly is currently third on the list with 100 wins coming in 184 games.

    United manager Alex Ferguson took 231 matches to arrive at his ton

Comments are closed.