Rafael Benitez has expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to manage Real Madrid and has wished “good luck” to his successor Zinedine Zidane.
The former Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea and Napoli manager Benitez was replaced by Zidane on Monday despite being in charge for only seven months.
Benitez replaced Carlo Ancelotti in June, signing a three-year contract. But after damaging defeats, including a 4-0 loss to Barcelona at the Bernabeu, the Spaniard was under increasing pressure and was whistled by Madrid fans towards the end of his time at the club.
However, Benitez spoke positively about his time at the club, stating that it was an “honour” to have managed his home-town club.
Writing on his own personal website rafabenitez.com, the 55-year-old said: “As a madridista from Madrid, steeped in the traditions and values of this institution, which I learned in the old sports city of Castellana, it has been an honour to work for these colours.”
Benitez’s final game in charge was Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Valencia, a result which left Madrid in third spot in the Primera Division table, four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.
The 10-time European champions opted to replace Benitez with Zidane, but he feels no bitterness towards his successor, and wishes him “good luck”.
Benitez said: “I would like to wish good luck to Zinedine Zidane, my successor, and his staff. To all the players, coaches and staff in both Valdebebas and Bernabeu, I wish all the best and also good luck.
“Now, at the end of my time as first-team coach of Real Madrid, I would like to use this article to say goodbye to everyone at every level of the club,” Benitez added.
“I want everyone at the club from the board of directors, executives, workers and all of the fans, (to) know that it has been an honour and privilege to be in charge at this club, where I grew up as a person, player and coach from the lowest categories through to the first team.
“I would especially like to thank everyone at the new sports city and the Santiago Bernabeu who, since my first steps through the door, have supported me and made my work easier. Thanks to all for helping.
“With all my respect and thanks… HALA MADRID and NOTHING ELSE.”