Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez has responded to comments taken from former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard’s book.
The Spanish tactician has rejected claims for his former star that he never liked him during their time together at Anfield.
Benitez took charge at the club in 2004, and led the club to Champions League and FA Cup success with Gerrard as his captain.
However, the 35-year-old was upset with a conversation that the Spaniard had with his mother prior to arriving in England, and he suggested that Benitez didn’t like him.
“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. It probably started even before he spoke to me, when he met my mum,” Gerrard wrote, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“Gerard [Houllier] introduced Rafa to my mum. Rafa shook her hand, said hello and then immediately asked her a very blunt question: ‘Does Steven like money?’
“Apart from a standard “Hello… good to meet you” introduction, those were the first words Rafa said to my mum. I thought: ‘What kind of question is that?’
“I can pick up the phone and speak to all of my previous Liverpool managers. Except for Rafa.”
However, Benitez was keen to avoid starting a controversy and refused to add fuel to the fire by insisting that ultimately the book is aimed at making money.
“I have read the quotes and I believe he is wrong,” Benitez told Spanish television.
“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.”