‘Ferguson let Benitez watch United train in 2000’

Date published: Wednesday 23rd November 2016 10:30

Rafael Benitez watched Manchester United train in 2000 – four years before he was appointed Liverpool manager.

Benitez and Ferguson endured a difficult relationship after the Spaniard arrived in the Premier League 12 years ago, with the two memorably battling for the title in 2008/09.

According to Benitez’s long-time assistant manager, Pako Ayestaran, the two met before they clashed in England.

Ayestaran, who served as the Spaniard’s assistant for 11 years, three of which came at Anfield, says the pair watched United train in 2000 while they were unemployed.

“We were between jobs in 2000, so we went to visit Manchester United,” he told MailOnline.

“Ferguson let Rafa and I watch his first-team training sessions with Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, everyone in that great Treble team. At that time, it wasn’t as normal to let foreign coaches come over to observe. It was very kind.

“At Liverpool, I loved it from day one,” he added. “It’s the feeling of belonging to a club, to a community. I was in Liverpool Lime Street and people were coming up to me, saying thank you, thank you for coming. I’m thinking ‘f***!

“I was in Valencia for many years and I’m only stopped in the street to be criticised and then I come here and they are saying thank you before I have even started.”

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