Bouncing between La Liga, the Premiership, and Serie A, Rafael Benítez has coached his fair share of some of the world’s best clubs. He’s been remarkably successful — he’s the only coach to have ever won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup. Here are picks for Spanish manager Rafael Benítez’s most remarkable wins to date.
Liverpool vs AC Milan, Champions League Final 2005
Despite a fifth place in the Premiership in his first season in charge of Liverpool, he took the team to the Champions League where they pulled off one of the best comebacks in football history. Known as the Istanbul Miracle, Liverpool came back from a 3-0 deficit at halftime to beat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final. The Reds scored three times in six minutes to finish the game off in penalties.
Liverpool vs. West Ham United, FA Cup 2006
In just his second season as club manager, Benitez took the the Reds to the FA Cup finals where they defeated West Ham on penalties. It was Liverpool’s 7th FA Cup Trophy.
Valencia, La Liga Champions, 2001-02
In his first season as manager of Valencia, Benítez took over the team and coached them all the way to the La Liga title. Despite the fast start, it would be another season before Benitez’s aggressive style would pay off to help win another title.
Valencia UEFA Cup 2004
During the 2003-04 seasons, Benitez led Valencia to both the league and UEFA Cup titles. In the latter, Valencia beat Marseille 2-0 in what was the club’s first significant trophy in Europe in 24 years. Benitez helped bring relief to a side that had lost two Champions League finals at the beginning of the century.
Chelsea Europa League, 2012-2013
Serving as interim manager for The Blues during the 2012-2013 season, Benitez led Chelsea a Europa League title over Benfica. Despite the silverware, Benitez left for Napoli the following season.
Napoli, 2013-14 Coppa Italia + Supercoppa Italiana
Signed to a two-year contract, Benitez won the Coppa Italia in his first year with the club. He also helped the club win a Supercoppa Italiana and finish third in Serie A that same year, helping them qualify for Champions League.
Supercoppa Italiana + FIFA Club World Cup, 2010 Inter Milan
Filling in the shoes of a departing Jose Mourinho, Benitez snagged immediate success with a 3-1 win over Roma in the Italian Super Cup. He also coached the squad to victory in the FIFA Club World Cup. But after dropping points in Serie A with no chance of finishing on top of the table, Inter let go of Benítez.
Newcastle 2017-2018, Winning the Championship
In March of 2016, Newcastle hired Benítez to save the team from relegation. Despite finishing the season with six consecutive wins including a 5-1 whopping over Tottenham in the last game of the season, Newcastle was relegated. Undeterred, Benítez remained at the club and helped them win the 2016-17 EFL Championship making a return back into the Premier League.
Liverpool vs AC Milan, Champions League Final 2007
In a rematch of the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool once again faced off against AC Milan. But this time around, the Italian giants got the upper hand with a 2-1 victory over The Reds. Despite the loss, two Champions League final appearances in three years are impressive.
Valencia, La Liga Champions 2003/04
Some argue that Benitez’s success at Valencia came down to the squad bequeathed to him by his predecessor, but his clever tactics and aggressive play built Valencia into a stronger team. After a disappointing 2002-03 season, Benitez brought regained the La Liga title in the face of Real Madrid and Barcelona dominance.
Extremadura & Tenerife Club Promotions
In Benitez’s early years, he got his feet wet getting second division sides Extremadura promoted to La Liga in 1997. A few years later, he helped second division team Tenerife advance to the First Division. The successes are much like what he’s doing now in rebuilding Newcastle.