Monday 19 March 2018

Steven Gerrard on why Rafa Benitez didn’t like him, and injuring his penis

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard (L) and manager Rafael Benitez hold the Champions League trophy in 2005.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard (L) and manager Rafael Benitez hold the Champions League trophy in 2005. Newsdesk Newsdesk

Extracts continue from Steven Gerrard’s book with more insights into his fractious relationship with former manager Rafa Benitez and one particularly gruesome injury.

Gerrard captained Benitez’s team to Champions League glory in 2005 in that famous night in Istanbul, but never had a particularly close relationship with the Spanish manager.

In his autobiography, which is being serialised by the Daily Mail, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder wrote:  "I don't think Rafa Benitez liked me as a person. I'm not sure why, but that's the feeling I got from him. It probably started even before he spoke to me, when he met my mum."

He explained that the first time Benitez met his mother the Spaniard seemed blunt, unfriendly and asked her bizarre questions such as whether Gerrard was only interested in money.

"I used to think he favoured our Spanish speakers. He was an especially big fan of South American players, which is fine. It caused no problem between us.

"At press conferences he might call other players by their first name but I was always 'Gerrard'. It was the same in the dressing room. He would read out the team and use nicknames. But, for me, it would just be 'Gerrard'."

Read more: Steven Gerrard: England would have reached a major final with Jose Mourinho in charge

The former England international also described an “eye-watering” injury suffered at the hands of Bournemouth in the FA Cup.

“It was eye-watering. I tried to close down a winger to block his cross but felt a stinging in my privates. I thought, 'S*** — that doesn't feel right!' It was stinging like f***,” he writes.

“The gash looked pretty bad, right across the middle. There was plenty of blood. I needed four stitches and the lads were absolutely p*ssing themselves.

Gerrard describes the emotions following the gruesome injury, which did little to deter his enthusiasm for the upcoming Merseyside derby.

“Ouch. I hoped I wasn't saying goodbye to an old friend. I got a jab first and was careful not to look at what he was doing.

“After I had been bandaged up as protection against any possible infection, I asked the obvious question. 'Can I play against Everton on Tuesday?”

Read more: Steven Gerrard: I thought Brendan Rodgers was muscle-flexing when he dropped me

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