Rafa Benitez Reveals the Best Ever XI He's Worked With


​Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez has managed a host of top clubs during his career, and he's picked a side of the best players he's ever worked with. 

This team would surely sweep aside most teams if the players were all in their primes. Here's who he's gone with in a 4-3-3:

11. Goalkeeper: Santiago Canizares

​Valencia legend Canizares wasn't a regular starter until late in his career but made over 300 appearances for the Spanish outfit and helped them to two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions League final appearances. He made 46 caps for Spain, despite the competition of Victor Valdes and Iker Casillas.

10. Right-Back: Alvaro Arbeloa

​Alvaro Arbeloa was an automatic starter for Benitez during his time at Liverpool, and the consistent full back is now under the guidance of Benitez at Real Madrid. In six seasons at Madrid, he has made almost 200 appearances. While he could only manage 66 at Liverpool, he has always been a firm favourite of the Spaniard's.

9. Centre-Back: Sergio Ramos

​The Spanish titan has long been regarded as one of the world's best defenders. With 320 league appearances for Real Madrid, this looks set to continue under Benitez after a summer of speculation linking him with Manchester United. 

Ramos has highlighted his talents beyond defending: executing a magnificent overhead kick against Sevilla last time out.

8. Centre-Back: Sami Hyypia

The Liverpool legend is a fan favourite at Anfield, clocking over 300 appearances. The Finnish defender won six major trophies during his time on Merseyside: including the UEFA Champions League in 2005. Understandably, it would be difficult for any manager that has coached Hyypia to leave him out of their best XI.​

7. Left-Back: Marcelo

​There surely isn't a better left-back out there in a world where world class full backs are hard to come by. However, Marcelo is an exciting, attacking full back who bombs forward with pace, and a reliable goal threat. 

He's also shown that he is equally adept at remaining defensively sound as he starred in Real Madrid's famous La Decima Champions League win.

6. Midfield: Steven Gerrard

​One runs out of superlatives to describe the genius of Steven Gerrard. In his prime he was undoubtably one of the best midfielders of his generation; producing countless moments of magic for Benitez during his time at Liverpool and was his captain as he masterminded Liverpool's Champions League win in Istanbul.

5. Midfield: Xabi Alonso

The midfield maestro broke many hearts ​when he made the switch to Real Madrid in 2009. He made almost 150 league appearances and was apart of the Benitez side that won the Champions League, along with Hyypia and Gerrard. Famous for his fantastic range of passing and brilliant vision.

4. Midfield: Frank Lampard

​Benitez's time in charge of Chelsea was brief, but not everyone gets the privilege of working with football legend Frank Lampard, who helped Rafa win the Uefa Europa League in his debut season. He had been an admirer of Lampard for many seasons while managing Liverpool and established himself as a favourite when the former Valencia boss took over at the Bridge.

3. Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

Arguably the world's best at present and arguably the best ever. There were some rumours that the two had fell out during pre-season, but that hasn't stopped Ronaldo from netting 13 goals in 15 appearances under Benitez. With speculation that PSG might try to tempt the Portuguese superstar, Rafa will be doing all he can to make sure he stays put.​

2. Forward: Fernando Torres

​With 81 goals from 142 appearances, Fernando Torres established himself as one of the best strikers in the club's history and was a hit with the fans until his controversial move to Premier League rivals Chelsea, where he struggled to replicate the same form. 

Benitez coached him with both clubs, but will have fond memories of the Torres he managed at Liverpool, whose goals took the Reds close to the title.

1. Forward: Eden Hazard

​Eden Hazard would certainly be on Rafa's wishlist for Real Madrid, although it would take a monumental bid for that to happen. Hazard played almost every game for Benitez as he netted 14 goals from midfield. Like Lampard, he wasn't with the Belgian for long, but such a talent is hard to forget.

​Rafa Benitez's best ever XI that he has worked with.