Israeli midfielder blames his old coach for transfer to Chelsea.
By ALLON SINAI
Yossi Benayoun launched a scathing attack on his former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez on Sunday, claiming the Spaniard tried to break his spirit and treated him with a lack of respect.The 30-year-old Israel captain left Liverpool for Premier League champion Chelsea in a £5.5million move earlier this month and on Sunday blasted Benitez in uncharacteristic fashion."Everyone asks me why I left Liverpool,” Benayoun told the News of The World.“There is only one reason – Rafa Benitez.“I agreed to join Chelsea before Roy Hodgson was appointed Liverpool’s new manager.“It’s a dream for me such a fantastic club have given me this opportunity.But I want Liverpool fans to know the truth and for them to know I made up my mind to leave a long time ago because of Benitez. He never treated me with the respect I deserved. If I played well, I never felt he gave me credit.“When I scored, I still expected to be out of the team the next game. And when the fans wanted me to play, Benitez told me he couldn’t understand why.”Benayoun, who made 134 appearances during his three seasons with the Reds after joining from West Ham in May 2007, continued: “There are many examples of him treating me badly.“On two occasions early last season, against Fulham and Lyon, the fans booed when I was subbed. They thought I was playing well but Benitez told me he was surprised the fans booed because I was not good enough. It was as if the fans’ reaction worked against me. The situation got worse afterwards.“He told me I was a better player as a substitute instead of starting in the team. Then, when we played Birmingham after I hadn’t started a game for a month, he didn’t tell me I was starting until two hours before the game. He tried to destroy my confidence. You can’t treat a player like this and expect him to be happy.“I felt so unhappy but, out of respect to the club, I never spoke out. The players and the people at the top of the club knew how I felt. I don’t want to speak on behalf of other players at Liverpool, but people know what happened to Albert Riera and Xabi Alonso. It was the same for me. Benitez tried to break me like he broke Riera. I was sure he wanted me to attack him in the press during the season so he could turn the fans against me, so I kept quiet. I felt he was waiting for me to make a mistake so he could use it against me.”The midfield magician went on to reveal that Benitez essentially pushed him out of the club at the end of last season.“On the day before the final game of last season at Hull, Benitez pulled me to one side after training and said: ‘You will not be in the squad for this game.Thank you for your three years of service, now you can call your agent to do a deal with another club.’ That’s when Chelsea made an offer and the deal was done before Benitez left.”Benayoun understands that he will have to work extremely hard to break into Chelsea’s lineup.“I’m not stupid. I know Chelsea have many great players and it will be hard to play in the team every week,” he said.“But what’s important for me is I know I will be treated with respect.“Carlo Ancelotti is a fantastic manager and he knows how to treat players.”
var cont = `Sign up for The Jerusalem Post Premium Plus for just $5
Upgrade your reading experience with an ad-free environment and exclusive content