The former Liverpool and Real Madrid coach analyzes how they reached the final in Paris, their strengths and their weak points. “Liverpool are the favourites, but Madrid never give up,” he says.
Rafa Bentz has soaked up the doubles that have taken Liverpool and Real Madrid to the Paris final. The two teams he has coached and that will face each other exactly 17 years after the miracle in Istanbul that led him to be European champions with the ‘Reds’ on penalties against Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan.
- Have a favorite?
- I would say Liverpool are the favorites because of their performance of the season, but Real Madrid have already shown that they never give up and have enough quality to throw the game out of balance.
- 2018 is different…
- Of course. Benzema’s goal and Bale’s two goals after the draw… It would be hard for us to see something similar. Also, in this case I would say that many Liverpool players will have more experience and that will help them. Real Madrid had that advantage.
- Is there the easiest way to get to Liverpool?
- It is always difficult to reach the finals. If we analyze the names of the rivals, it seems like one thing, but matches could be completely different, as Villarreal demonstrated at La Sermica. One cannot say it was an easy game for Liverpool.
- You who know Bernaboo well, believe in the secret of why PSG, Chelsea and City fell?
- Ever since I was little, I’ve experienced many famous nights out at Burnaboo, but in these cases, each one is different, they have a common denominator: a player’s quality or imbalance. We must not forget that PSG and Chelsea’s goalkeepers made mistakes that changed those games. The city had other opportunities. I think the merit of Madrid and Bernabeu lies in not giving up on the experience and quality of the players to plow under pressure in the last minutes. The use of Mystique and DNA is sold more.
- Do you see this Liverpool being capable of making the same mistakes?
- I do not believe. Many players were in the finals in 2018 and now they have more experience. This will help them.
- Benzema and Courtois are the reasons why Madrid can win 14 Champions League?
- definitely. Benzema always had intelligent moves and technical quality, but now, moreover, he has more accuracy in front of the target, making better use of opportunities. Courtois, due to his size, is already imposing, but other than that, he is nimble, reacts quickly and is technically good. is very complete.
- Another essential player is Casemiro…
- Yes definitely. I am very fond of Casemiro because he was our first signing. He was on loan at Porto and the club asked me if I wanted him back and logically, I said yes, the team needs someone to balance it. He is a great person and a good professional. He was young and always wanted to be with me or my assistants and do extra chores. He listened and applied himself to improve, which is why he has been essential at Real Madrid all these years.
- YouYou took the reins of Real Madrid after Ancelotti’s first spell, what changes have you noticed in this second spell of the Italian on the bench?
- Carlo is intelligent and adapts well to the players he has, but in terms of the way he works, he is similar. His assistants will also have more experience and that makes things easier, but he, in particular, and without looking at the day-to-day training, I think he works the same way he did before.
- He is being criticized for not doing rotation…
- Every coach knows his players, his squad better than the people outside. I’m sure Ancelotti knew what he was doing.
- What are Real Madrid’s weak points?
- He doesn’t have much, really. It is an organized team, with good ball control and dominating the game. That could be the key. If they don’t dominate, if Liverpool have the ball in Madrid’s ground, they have to defend and that’s something they don’t usually do.
- Let’s talk about Liverpool. Which absence will be more decisive: Salah, Fabinho or Van Dijk?
- He has already shown that he can play and win without any of them, but because of the players who can replace him and because of the position, I would say Van Dijk is more influential in team play . It provides protection and due to the danger posed by this one set piece.
- Klopp says he has Ferrari in garage, is that the big difference with Madrid?
- In the end you don’t need too many Ferraris in the garage. The difference that one or two can make may be enough. In that sense, they both have players to change the match, we’ve already seen that with Rodrigo.
- Could Liverpool’s physique be so decisive?
- It is possible That’s the big difference between Liverpool and many other Premier League teams, but it also has quality on all lines and on the bench. Real Madrid have only faced a team like Liverpool in terms of intensity, Chelsea, and we have seen how difficult it was. Liverpool is a different challenge for this Real Madrid.
- Liverpool’s 2022 overwhelmed by the explosion of a player like Luis Diazzo
- Yes, the team is doing very well in all competitions, which shows the good work of Klopp and the people collaborating with him, with the quality signings that add to the great team he already has. Luis Diaz has adapted quickly, he is not afraid to face his rivals and does things differently from other strikers, so it has been a very successful signing.
- Tell us what your message to the dressing room would be if you coached Real Madrid and what would happen if you were at Liverpool
- It’s difficult. The coach of each team is the one who knows their players best and outwardly, no matter how much we want to know or think we know about both teams, we will never know the players or handle the moment like them. will not be able to. , Just from experience, I think these two tell you to be true to the way you do things, so you have made it to the finals.
- You have been on both the benches, how do you feel the pressure on one and the other?
- At Real Madrid, and I don’t want to argue, we were first in the group in the Champions League, but they didn’t give us time to show anything else, so, in that case, I can’t talk about the pressure before a final. . I’ve been to a lot of finals in Liverpool and you always know you have the fans behind you and all the staff, pushing, helping. You want to win for yourself, your people, but also for them. The 2005 final, in Istanbul, was won after 21 years and the pressure was unnoticeable, the passion, the enthusiasm, the emotion was noticeable, and it always gives you something more to do for your team.
- It is mandatory to ask him about Mbapp. What do you think about the decision? Now, the players have all the power?
- Players have a lot of power, but in this case we are talking about the person who ends his contract and decides where he wants to go. Madrid has just gone for a player whose contract with his club was expiring and who didn’t tell them.
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