Whilst I understand the bitter feelings that people now have for Rafa, for me he goes to Stamford Bridge with my best wishes.
Many people seem to forget that he was sacked. It was never his choice to walk away from our club.
Rewind back to 25th May 2005 and this date alone is the reason that Rafa should be held in the highest regard by each and every Kopite. Regardless of what generation you are from, Istanbul will never be repeated, not by Liverpool and not by any other club in world football. That embarrassing feeling after 45 minutes where fans from every club across the nation gloated about how we were being given a footballing lesson, to the sheer ecstasy as Steven Gerrard lofted the most prized possession in European football into the air will never be repeated. Not even winning the Premiership title would compare to the mixed emotions and feelings that we all felt in a two hour period on that glorious evening.
In my opinion Rafa is too classy to manage Chelsea. We are talking about a guy who, despite being pushed out of the club by our previous owners still kept us close to his heart. This is the same Rafa Benitez who on the 22nd Hillsborough memorial service sat on the Kop shedding tears as relatives of the victims from the disaster addressed the people in front of them. Rafa also donated £96,000 to the Hillsborough families. Another sign of the kind of person he is and how he has took Liverpool, not just as a football club, but the city in general into his heart.
When Rafa brings his Chelsea side to Anfield I’ll certainly be giving him a standing ovation and I’m more than confident that every other Liverpool fan will too. If Rafa had the choice he would be managing us again. After Roy Hodgson’s brief spell in charge, Rafa made no secret of his desire to come back to Liverpool, as he did when Dalglish’s reign ended. The current owners have never approached him and he has never been considered since his sacking in June 2010.
Rafa was not going to wait around forever for us to come calling. He made his feelings known about a return to a club that he undoubtedly loves. He is not getting any younger and he would have been foolish to turn down an opportunity to manage the current European Champions given that we are not going to be offering him any such position any time soon.
Brendan Rodgers has a bright future ahead of him at Anfield and as fans that is where our focus should be. Rafa is now just another Liverpool legend who wrote his name into Anfield folklore and has now took to pastures new. I will be forever grateful for the success and joy that Rafa brought to our club and I wish him all the luck for the future providing it is not at our expense. I hope he proves the already doubting Chelsea faithful wrong and that they one day realise just how much a class act Rafa Benitez is.
Follow me on Twitter for more views @richokop.
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