Not being in football management does not suit Benitez. This correspondant once saw Benitez deliver a public lecture at Trinity College, having been invited to accept an award from the college's Philosophical Society. (An event remembered for the posters for the event advertising the imminent arrival of a Rafa 'Bentiez').
If the society were hoping to get a manager to deliver a Jim Valvano/Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday style speech full of inspiration and shouting, they were sorely disappointed. Benitez' philosophy was purely tactical, and brought members of the audience on stage to explain the nuanced advantages of zonal marking and to rubbish the system's cons as identified by ex-pros. Football management suits Benitez much more than public speaking.
Benitez is now back in management, folowing a path previously tread by Michael Owen in going from Real Madrid to Newcastle United.
It is certainly a step down for Rafa, to go from coaching James to managing at St James', but Guardian journalist Sid Lowe has explained why Benitez would make such a move:
If you are wondering why on earth Rafa Benítez would go to Newcastle United from Real Madrid, consider this: the last time he didn’t have a professional side to manage, he took over his local school team on the Wirral.
"It was hilarious,” his wife, Montse, recalled. “He stood there on the touchline and shouted at them as if it was the first division, waving his arms around.”
This is not just Rafa’s job, she explained, it is his “passion”; football manager isn’t what he does, it is what he is. “Take the pitch away from him,” she said, “and ...”
And there is nothing.
What an utterly marvellous image. Benitez was unveiled as Newcastle manager this afternoon, where he revealed that he had sought advice from Alan Shearer before taking the job. We assume he did not seek managerial advice from Shearer, who relegated Newcastle back in 2008. Benitez revealed that there is a clause in his contract thatwill allow him to leave should the club be relegated this season.
You can read Lowe's entire column here.