Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has named Steven Gerrard as the greatest player he ever managed.
Speaking to Football Daily, the Spanish coach was asked for his advice to young managers such as Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Going slightly off-tangent, the former Liverpool captain was revealed as the best player Benitez coached.
“I know Lampard but I know much better Gerrard. I was six years with him and he was the best player that I ever coached,” said the 62-year-old. “I say that because people were asking me that. He was a great, great player, a fantastic player and he’s a young manager now.
“So, he will need some time, he will need to make some mistakes and do it right like he did in Scotland. He’s someone who has a great future and what I would say to them is just listen, that’s it. Listen to everyone and try to learn from anyone.”
Gerrard top of the pile despite stiff competition
We all know just how good Gerrard was. The now Aston Villa manager is arguably the greatest player in Liverpool history.
At Inter Milan, he coached the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Wesley Sneijder. In his brief time at Chelsea, Lampard and Eden Hazard were in his squad. Rafa then coached players such as Gonzalo Higuain, Lorenzo Insigne and Jorginho at Napoli.
Moving onto Real Madrid, Benitez oversaw some absolute superstars of the game. Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and the rest. But according to Rafa, Gerrard tops them all.
Even at Liverpool, he had some stiff competition for the crown. At one point during his time at Anfield, Fernando Torres was the best striker in world football. Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso were both players of impeccable pedigree too. Still, none better than Stevie G.
Benitez and Gerrard’s relationship at Liverpool was famously standoffish. But the Reds icon must have learnt a lot from the Champions League winning coach.
If he’s to fulfil his dream of one day managing Liverpool, then Gerrard will have to put all of those lessons into practice.