When former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was appointed at Stamford Bridge, it was obvious he is going to be a hated figure with the blues supporters mainly because of the rivalry with Liverpool and the infamous Rafa comments about Chelsea fans.
The Blues could not live upto the tag of “European Champions” as they were playing clueless football for quite some time under Di Matteo and for worst, Chelsea became the first team to be eliminated from group stages of Champions league being the holders.
In such a complex scenario, Benitez was put in charge by Roman Abramovich keeping in view his track record and perhaps the fact that he could be the only hope if Fernando Torres is going to hit form.
Since day one, Rafa has been booed by Chelsea’s own fans. There is no doubt that a few did support the Spaniard but surely the majority outweighed them to make their influence known. Such was the intensity of hatred that perhaps away games had more home-like feeling than at the Bridge for Benitez.
After all the jeers he has suffered, Benitez has done wonders with virtually no fan support. The Spaniard won his third European title last night after leading Chelsea to victory against Benfica to win Europa League.
Despite the fact that he had quality players at disposal, the difficult circumstances, the distorted squad and the ridiculous supporters did little to help Rafa. The premier league title was always out of question in such phase of transition. Still, against all odds, Benitez successfully ensured that Chelsea will feature in next year’s Champions League.
The only major blip for him this season was losing the Club World Cup final, else he has proved the doubters wrong. Facing hectic and the worst of schedules lately, Chelsea only just lost the semifinal of FA Cup to City, rest they were in form and dominated opponents.
Given Benitez’s brilliant record in European Competitions, Chelsea might have done wonders in Champions League as well if he was in charge. Sadly for the fans they were already eliminated when he took over.
Adding to that, Benitez was not even provided millions to spend like other managers did at Chelsea and his main signing Demba Ba was even cup tied for Europa League. Still, Rafa revived Torres who was clearly one of the players of the tournament despite his bad league form.
Again, some Chelsea fans did not even give Rafa any credit for the win instead just praised the players. Even they know it inside how crucial Benitez has been. The Spaniard will likely depart at the end of the season and being a top manager, top clubs will be interested in him.
Rafael Benitez may as well have won some Chelsea fans for his brilliant efforts. The rest, well haters are always going to hate.
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