Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher says his former manager Rafael Benitez believed he was the ‘equal’ of Jose Mourinho.
Carragher was speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. As is the trend at present, it is en vogue to detract from Mourinho’s performance at Old Trafford, and Carragher’s comments are the latest attempt from media pundits to try and paint Mourinho as ‘yesterday’s man’.
Louis van Gaal’s comments about his infamously insipid brand of football being more entertaining than Jose Mourinho’s were lapped up by a press who were savage on the Dutchman during his tenure and Carragher seemingly saw it as an opportune moment to make a similarly outlandish statement.
“When Mourinho came, he lit the Premier League up with his press conferences,” Carragher said. “Rafa was completely different, he wouldn’t say much in press conferences. I think his quote was: ‘Abramovich is the Special One,’ he saw Mourinho as his equal.
“Mourinho had come in winning the Champions League and the UEFA Cup the year before. Rafa had come in winning two Spanish leagues at Valencia, which is a huge achievement to win it with Valencia and the UEFA Cup.
“So Rafa didn’t see Mourinho as some to look up to, he was like: ‘you’re only doing this because of Abramovich’s money.’ He had that sort of ego about him.”
Benitez followed two successful stints by Mourinho at Inter Milan and Real Madrid and failed spectacularly, lasting only months in each position. Last season Mourinho won two trophies, while Benitez had to make do with getting Newcastle promoted from English football’s second tier.