Rafael Benitez may win trophies at Chelsea. Rafael Benitez may sign few quality players at Chelsea. But Rafael Benitez will never be admired at Chelsea. He will always ‘walk alone’ at the London club.
He was greeted with smattering of boos at the time of unveiling. The fans have made it clear that they are disparagingly unhappy with his appointment. But, they have drawn a line. They have moved on. They enjoyed Chelsea’s resounding victory against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. They cared little about their manager. And why should they? A football club is more than winning trophies and pouring money. Everything moves on with passage of time, but what remains constant is the love of the fans that helps a club grow and develop into an identity.
That is where exactly Rafael Benitez doesn’t fit in at Chelsea. He is the carbon mono-oxide for the Blues’ heart. He bleeds Red. He can never be a hero at Stamford Bridge.
“Chelsea is a big club with fantastic players, every manager wants to coach a such a big team. ‘But I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only club in England, and that’s Liverpool.”
This is what Benitez said in 2007. He was seen as club legend Jose Mourinho’s bitter enemy. How could the club embrace him with arms wide open when the manager feels there is only one club in England and that is Liverpool? That’s hypocrisy. The relationship is professional, not emotional any more.
They say time is the best healer. So, is there any chance he might still be a Blue in future? London will be his managerial Eden someday – can that day dream turn into reality ever? Nope. Had that been the case he would have at least offered a contrite apology to the fans. But he is not like that. He is a man of high self-respect. He says boldly that it was his job to safeguard the best interest of Liverpool and doesn’t see any reason why he should change his opinion now. No wonder he ricked up the possibility of bridging the gap with the fans.
May be he can bring the best out of £50m signing Fernando Torres. But, somehow one always gets the feeling the fans have never taken El Nino to their heart. It does matter if Torres performs on pitch for them, but nothing more than that.
But, it matters a lot, if any negative is said about their heroes no matter what their present situations are.
“I think so,” he said in the Guardian. “I don’t have all the information and it’s not fair to tell me I’m only here for seven months and then expect me to have an influence at the club over the next two or three years, but I think that’s the case at the moment.”
Chelsea fans probably know that this might be the last time they will see Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole in action donning the Blue shirt but certainly they don’t want clarification from a man who is already an outsider to them.
Finally, the Blues might not like Rafa’s footballing philosophy as well. He is often bit negative in approach. His tactical methods does work as perfect recipe in Champions League games but at times fails to work in the league. That’s why it took almost four years for him to make a solid impression at the league with Liverpool. At Chelsea, they probably won’t like that. But, most importantly they won’t like their manager any time soon. Love for him? Unless, you wander in a fool’s paradise…