Rafa Benitez regrets that he was denied the chance to build a dynasty at Liverpool.
Ahead of today’s visit to St James’s Park by his former club, Benitez said that he would have been happy to spend the remainder of his career at Anfield after leading Liverpool to their fifth European Champions title in 2005.
But after a change of ownership, the departure of chairman David Moores and chief executive Rick Parry, a disillusioned Benitez left Liverpool in 2010 after six seasons in charge. ‘They were people who really understood football,’ Benitez said.
‘Unfortunately that board didn’t have the money to compete against the top sides and had to sell. The new owners ran it more as a business than a football club.’
Benitez claims he never had enough money to win the title at Liverpool. ‘When I arrived at Liverpool the budget was £20m gross. When I left, it was £17m, but people still said I must win the title. Manchester United had around £50m more every year and then came Chelsea so you were up against massive clubs with massive amounts of money.’
Benitez’s ambitions for Newcastle’s first season back in the Premier League are modest: securing their place in the division, and despite an early exit from the League Cup, some silverware. ‘Can we win trophies? Yes, for sure. It depends on a lot of things but in a cup competition, it can happen.’