Rafa saddened by Liverpool exit
Published 15/06/2010 | 14:17
New Inter Milan boss Rafael Benitez admits it was hard for him to leave Liverpool but insists he had to do it.
Benitez parted company with the Reds by mutual consent at the beginning of the month after six years at Anfield, with the Spaniard paying the price for a disappointing season.
The Champions League-winning coach claims it was a wrench to leave Liverpool but knows it was obvious his time on Merseyside had come to an end.
"It was difficult to leave Liverpool after six years working there, I had amazing times there," said Benitez as he was presented to the press today. "Also my daughter is seven, she lived most of her life there.
"It's not easy but things changed so I needed to move and I had the perfect opportunity to come to Inter
"I hope it will be perfect for me and perfect for Inter.
"The club was fantastic, the fans amazing so it was a really sad day when i had to go but things changed so it was obvious I had to do it."
Benitez refused to comment on his relationship with Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, adding: "The owners are the owners. Now I'm in a different club and I'm very happy to be here.
"My relationship with Liverpool fans was great from the beginning and I hope it will be so here. I think the fans will be happy."
Speculation is rife that Benitez will raid Liverpool for his former players, with Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano reportedly top of the wish list.
The 50-year-old remained tight-lipped on possible transfer targets, but hinted he could attempt to bring his former captain to the San Siro after the World Cup.
"I have been in contact with the majority of players and the majority said thanks for everything and all the best," said Benitez.
"I talked to Gerrard when it was his birthday and he's fine. He wants to talk about the World Cup now, not anything else.
"I wished them all good luck for the World Cup. Now they're all focused on that."
Benitez earned a place in Anfield folklore by guiding Liverpool to 2005 Champions League glory in his first season.
He followed that with FA Cup success in 2006 and another Champions League final appearance 12 months later. After finishing runners-up in the Barclays Premier League in 2009, many expected a serious title tilt this year but it failed to materialise.
Early elimination from the Champions League was followed by a failure to finish in the top four and to re-qualify for Europe's elite event.