The Barcelona midfielder was full of praise for the Real Madrid coach, explaining how he helped him during the lowest point of his career
Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano has credited Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez with saving his career.
Benitez took the Argentine to Liverpool from West Ham in 2007 at a time when he was playing very few games, with Mascherano developing into one of the Reds’ stars and earning a move to Barca.
And the 31-year-old says he is eternally grateful to the Spaniard for the belief he showed in him.
“Rafa Benitez wanted me and believed in me at the lowest point of my career and he was asking me to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world – Liverpool,’ he told Panenka Magazine.
“From then on, he became a very important person for me. Not only on a day-to-day basis, but also for my future and I hope I repaid him with my efforts.
“When he coaches he always looks to get the best out of every player, like he did with me, something for which I will be eternally grateful.
“He lifted me out of a dark hole, which at the time made me feel like I was 20 metres underground, and he put me in a positive frame of mind.”
Mascherano will come up against his former mentor when Barcelona play Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season on November 21.