Seven years after departing the Liverpool dugout, Rafa Benitez has refused to rule out a return to the manager’s role in the future.
Benitez was an enormously popular figure during his six-year stay at Anfield, helping make the Reds one of Europe’s most respected sides in the mid-to-late 2000s.
He famously guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, and also won the FA Cup a year later, beating West Ham at the Millennium Stadium.
He left in 2010, however, following issues both on and off the pitch, and has since enjoyed spells at Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid and Newcastle United.
The current Magpies boss says he could never completely rule out a return to Liverpool, insisting he still has plenty of years left in him.
“I didn’t get too many chances to go back. But that is football, you never know,” Benitez told reporters on Friday.
“Have I come close? The job is quite difficult. I have been in Italy or Madrid or moving around.
“It has to be the right time. When you have problems and are available, they might be doing well.
“I am getting older but for a manager still a young manager.
“I don’t want to say [I will go back]. I am really pleased here. I am happy here. And I wish Jurgen Klopp a lot of success.
“But in the future…I want to be successful here, and what happens in the future you never know.
“We won four trophies, semi-finals too in that short period. If you see the money we spent, and the money they’ve spent in the past years, the fans appreciate that.”
In a hypothetical world, Benitez returning to Anfield at some point in the future would be met with huge positivity by the majority of supporters.
His stubborn character did manage to rub some fans up the wrong way, but what cannot be denied is that he is top-class manager with a great record.