Jerzy Dudek has an autobiography out charmingly entitled 'A Pole in Our Goal'. The Liverpool Echo are serialising extracts from the book currently.
They were especially enticed by the segment in which Jerzy pondered the pros and cons of punching Rafa Benitez in the face.
Notwithstanding his Champions League shootout saves, Benitez wanted a replacement for Dudek. He bought Pepe Reina from Villareal that summer. Dudek told Benitez that he wanted away from Anfield if he wasn't going to be first-choice. FC Koln had come in and Benitez agreed it would be a good move. Benitez said he'd help facilitate the move.
However, Koln were only willing to go as far as an initial loan deal worth €800,000 with an agreement that they'd buy Dudek for €3 million if they avoided relegation.
This was unacceptable to Benitez. He wanted a permanent move and wouldn't bend on it. With time running out, a ratty and exasperated Dudek confronted Benitez after a frosty training session.
His 'cold and hard-faced' manager told him he'd no interest in selling him on those terms. Dudek considered punching him in the face as a way of breaking the deadlock.
On the one hand, he was angry and in the mood to punch him in the face. On the other hand, he feared that punching a Liverpool manager in the face might deface his CV slightly. Especially a Liverpool manager who had won the Champions League. (Had it been Gerard Houllier and him in the same room he wouldn't have thought twice presumably).
On the pro side, there was a chance that punching him in the face might fast-track the move. On the con side, it was risky move that might just cause a media furore and mark him out as bad news.
He said, "I will be honest with you, I am not interested in loaning you. If they come back today to buy you, they need to double their offer as this is the last day of the transfer window.” I was furious with him, absolutely fuming, and in my head I could hear a devilish voice saying ‘punch him in the face – punch him in the face and he’ll let you go to Germany’.
To be completely honest, I genuinely considered punching Rafa in the face. Then the consequences of doing so flashed through my mind. Would he let me go? Or would it just lead to a massive media scandal? Surely I couldn’t stay if I gave him a smack?
I don’t know how, but I managed to stop myself. Punching a Liverpool manager who had won the European Cup only a few months earlier wouldn’t have looked too good on the CV I guess, but I was still angry.
He decided not to punch his manager in the face. The act remained off his CV but he stayed at Liverpool for another two years.