I wish they would fuck off with their tapping up in the papers.
Real Madrid choose BenŪtez
Real Madrid have identified Rafael BenŪtez, rather than Josť Mourinho, as the leading candidate to become their new coach and are planning to lure him from Liverpool by making an offer that they believe he cannot refuse. With the Spaniard unsettled at Anfield, as he awaits reassurances from Liverpoolís new American owners, Real believe that they can tempt him back to his native Madrid by offering greater control than any other coach has had at the Bernabťu.
BenŪtez rejected an approach from Real 12 months ago, partly because his misgivings about the regime that was taking shape in Madrid, but a series of changes behind the scenes have laid the groundwork for a renewed bid to sign the Liverpool manager. In recognition of the need to allow their next coach more power than they have given the beleaguered Fabio Capello, Real have made moves to marginalise Predrag Mijatovic, the sporting director, and to promote a friend of BenŪtez, Juan Ńngel SŠnchez, in a role as general manager that has been designed to avoid any conflicts of interest with the next coach.
Real plan to sound out BenŪtez via his agent, Manuel GarcŪa Quillon, in the next fortnight, having detected that his position at Anfield is becoming unstable. The Spaniard expressed concern last week at the fact that he had not been contacted by George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks, the American sports tycoons, since they bought a 62 per cent stake in the club in early February.
He was piqued by their failure to speak to him when they visited Anfield for the Champions League match against Barcelona two weeks ago. While he has since been placated by a number of conciliatory e-mails from the United States, BenŪtez is understood to be demanding serious reassurances when the Americans, whose takeover is complete, return to Merseyside for the Barclays Premiership match against Arsenal on March 31.
Last night, BenŪtez offered observations on the new regime at Real in an interview with Revista de La Liga, Sky Sportsí Spanish football programme. ďFrom a distance, you know that they are changing things,Ē he said. ďThey have enough quality and players with experience. Itís difficult when you are in another country to talk about their squad, but they have very good players.
ďI know that the people are talking [about him], but I like to be focused on my team because we are trying to finish in the top four [in the Premiership] and we are playing in the Champions League.Ē
That at least is encouraging for Liverpool, but BenŪtez is eager to know whether he will have the money to strengthen the squad in the summer. Although Liverpool have had success in the Champions League this season, BenŪtez believes that they are at least two top-class players short of a team who will challenge for the Premiership title next season. Gillett and Hicks have offered assurances that there will be money available ó with those assurances backed by Rick Parry, the chief executive ó but BenŪtez wants to know how much, with uncertainty about whether he will have the funds to compete for a centre forward of the calibre of David Villa, of Valencia, or Samuel Etoío, of Barcelona.
ďItís important to know the ideas of the new owners and they need to know my ideas,Ē BenŪtez said. ďItís important to know what will happen in the future. Will there be a new stadium and maybe more money coming in? We need to do the right things.Ē
Liverpool are confident that BenŪtez will stay at Anfield beyond his present contract, which expires in 2010, and are encouraged not only by his commitment to investing in better players at youth level but also by his decision to buy a new house for his family in The Wirral. But they also recognise that the attraction of Real is strong for a man who was born in Madrid, supported the club and played for their reserve team before spending several years on their coaching staff. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premiership/liverpool/article1545436.ece