17 Oct 2011

Debunking LFC myths: No 10 – Rafa Benitez didn't want Robbie Keane

One of the most prevalent myths to arise from the Rafa Benitez era is the improbable notion that former Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry signed Robbie Keane. I have argued repeatedly that this was not the case but many fans refuse to accept the truth. Well, finally, we have irrefutable proof that it was, as a matter of fact, Benitez who wanted Keane and signed Keane.

Two years ago, as part of the 'Debunking Liverpool FC Myths' series, I posted an article containing irrefutable proof that it was Benitez's decision to sign Keane.

The response was predictable: no one wanted to accept the truth. As you can see from the comments section of the linked article, fans were adamant that it was Parry who signed Keane; Benitez didn't want him; the signing was forced on him and blah blah blah.

At the time, I provided the following evidence:

Exhibit A: Benitez's comments from the 10th July 2008

“Keane is also one of the names we are interested in, and we are still working on other possible situations. There has been some contact [over Keane] but we will have to see how things progress. Keane is clearly a player that has game intelligence and we are looking for players who can fit into our systems and improve the team.”

Exhibit B: Rafa’s comments from 28th July 2008

"We were looking for a player with game intelligence and good movement who could play alongside Torres. He [Keane] can play with Torres up front and also on the right. We knew he was a Liverpool fan since forever. We knew that he was a very good signing in terms of the commitment, the quality and the intelligence of the player.

"He is a player who can give to us a lot of goals – normally he gets about 15 each year. We were looking for the workrate he can give to us, the game intelligence and also the goals”.

The praise for Keane didn’t stop there, with Benitez adding:

"He has experience in the Premier League and also all the reports of his personality and professionalism are fantastic. He can be a good example for the young players. I feel like he has enough experience in the game and that he has a very good mentality. He is very hungry, so everything is positive."

Hmmm. This sounds suspiciously unlike someone who didn’t want to sign Keane. In fact, this is glowing praise for the player and the reasons advanced for signing him are typical of Benitez, i.e. Work rate, mentality, professionalism etc.

Exhibit C: Benitez’s press conference on July 29th, 2008

Here, Benitez again laid out in emphatic terms why he wanted Keane, and his role in the transfer:


Exhibit D: Benitez’s press conference on February 3rd, 2009

When Keane left Liverpool, Benitez himself refuted the suggestion that the transfer was forced on him:

Overwhelming evidence, but not good enough for the multitude of fans who exist with their heads buried permanently in the sand.

Now, we finally have confirmation from Benitez himself that he did, as a matter of fact, want to sign Keane. This was confirmed in front of Liverpool fans during 'An Audience with Rafa Benitez' on Sunday 16th October".

Benitez stated that:

* He wanted both Robbie Keane and Gareth Barry.

* He admired Keane, and was impressed by his partnership with Dimitar Berbatov at Spurs.

* Keane was sold because his partnership with Torres just didn't work out.

So there you have it: Benitez wanted Keane; Liverpool signed Keane on Benitez’s recommendation, albeit at an inflated price. End of story.

This rumour has now been officially debunked, and it can never again be credibly argued that Keane was signed by anyone else but Benitez.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Jaimie, I have the perfect followup to this....

    Debunking yet another LFC myth: Rafa was not the cause of Alonso's departure

    So wanting Barry obviously did not force out Alonso...Enough said.Let's hear it, Rafa can do no wrong. Rafa never had enough money to spend. Rafa is the messiah...Everyone else is wrong and Benitez was always right.Blah blah blah...

  2. more pointless drab aimed at raffa, keane blew his chance, probably cost us the league that season with his fluffs, simples. great player though, just didnt happen at liverpool for him.
    jaimie wat is your point about raffa?? just come out and admit you detest the bloke so we can put it to bed once and for all.

  3. Rafa being diplomatic not wanting to lay the blame at anyones door,we all no Parry lost his job over the Keane fiasco and Rafa gained more control over transfer fees,buying and selling and agreeing prices.I think for Rafa to sell Keane to Spurs and onl;y lose £3m on the original deal proves what a great deal Rafa ended up getting as LFC bought Keane just as he went into decline which could never have been forseen.Its like if you buy a second hand car which is mint condition and never had any problems it is possible as soon as you put the key in the day after buying it the thing wont start.Its nobodys fault its just a freak occurrence and for Rafa to spot this and sell Keane back to Spurs losing just £3m on the original deal just shows what a great judge of a player Rafa is.

  4. Obsessing over Rafa = hits for the website

    Hits for website = Hits for Sky adverts = £££££££

  5. Censoring my comments?

  6. I posted a comment which mentioned Sky advert and it is awaiting moderation?

  7. Complaints about ads don't go live. Sorry.

  8. Comments about ads don't go live. Sorry.

  9. Comments about advertss don't go live.  Sorry

  10. I feel very much sick of reading anything relating to Rafa. He failed in managing many football clubs after he left Liverpool but tried to come back to Liverpool inappropriately. It will look good if he simply shuts up and remains silent. But when he praises Kenny and expresses his desire to come back to Liverpool, he looks like an idiot, who doesnot know where to go.

  11. I would think Benitez too much of a gentleman to say anything else. Liverpool are stable and doing well and the Hillsborough campaign is about to finally reach one of it's main goals. He would have nothing to gain by slating Parry other than bringing LFC into disrepute and creating the wrong headlines at such a sensitive time. I am not surprised Benitez answered the question the way he did and i'm not surprised you Mr Kanwar seized the opportunity to highlight it. Unlike Benitez you don't have LFC's interest at heart but only your own self publicising agenda.

  12. I see you delete the posts that have a valid argument and those that don't agree with your agenda . .

  13. Mate are u serious, Rafa had a lot of positives and achieved some great things that all Liverpool fans should look back on with pride but regardless of how much u love rafa u cannot argue that his transfer dealings weren't suspect! Aquilani (regardless of ability 20mil was too much and could have been better spent keane 20odd mill not well spent (mate rafa wasn't afraid of using the press or leverage (not a greatword to use, i know) off the fans to put pressure on the owners to get his way none of this happened with keane

  14. No, I delete posts that snipe, like your previous comment did.  I'm not interested in what you think my 'agenda' is; there is no agenda; I just write what I think.  Your views are welcome, but if you start bitching about me or the site, your comment will be deleted. This is clearly stated in the comment policy.  If you have a problem with me or the site, then use the contact form and we can discuss it via email.

    You and others are so desperate to try and prove to people that I'm somehow an imposter/not a real LFC fan/Have some kind of anti-Liverpool agenda/Insert nefarious scheme here.  it's ridiculous. If you want to post such accusations, go and do it elsewhere.

  15. maybe Rafa was being diplomatic and already knew Keane would be joining so tried to talk positively.  Imagine if Keane's deal was near-certain, and Rafa said publicly that he didn't want him....I think he'd be sacked on the spot.

  16. I agree Rafa wanted Keane but you didn't mention the fact that Rafa wanted Barry to be signed first before we had signed Keane because he belived Those two could form a partnership with Barry at lm/lcm and keane off Torres. Of course Parry signed Keane first and couldn't get barry so ended with a massive fail all round. After his sacking he stated this in one of his interviews

  17. Tornike Khomeriki8:00 am, October 18, 2011

    "* Keane was sold because his partnership with Torres just didn't work out."--
    Or Rafa [thought] it didn't work out.

    Also, even if it didn't work as partnership, what logic can be there behind selling Keane and keeping N'gog?

    Keane's treatment was one of the worst in the list of mismanagement examples by Rafa.

  18. As someone who has been visiting this site for the last 3 years, I'd just like to say that this site is going downhill fast. A lot of the articles are insipid regurgitations of interviews, and then on top of that you still have this obsession with Rafa (more so than the pro-Rafa Brigade in my opinion). He's been gone almost 18 months. I don't know of anyone mentioning the Keane/Rafa situation in recent times so why does it need debunking. How about we just get on with it and look to the future. 

    On the day that Hillsborough was debated in Parliament, on a weekend when you could have talked about race in football, or even actually just talked about football and done a tactical analysis of the Man Utd game, what do you talk about? Something that happened in 2008. Banal, tedious and pointless.

    I know your response will be to tell me not to come here anymore, but I actually used to like this website, so just see it as constructive criticism.  

  19. I'd rather you delete my post entirely instead of editing it. There was nothing in the post that was rude or agsint the comment rules...just my opinion.

    Can you delete the full post please.

  20. Jaimie why do you allow comments like these? Unsubstantiated nonsense with no real point. If you read the article red4life you will see that Rafa himself did not claim to have not signed Keane so why are you tunring this into an attack on him?

  21. If that's true then why is he still sticking to the line of wanting Keane even now, more than a year (and a change in ownership) after he's left?

    There's no reason for him to stick to a party line any more, the only logical reason he'd still be saying the same thing is if it were the case. 

    For him to continue a deception to keep the board satisfied just doesn't make sense, Rafa may have his failings but I don't think he's a suck up.

  22. Rafa again. Joe Cole says that Hodgson's tactics didn't suit his style yet Hodgson bought him in. Any comment on why a guy we are paying in the region of £100k a week gets bought in reference to those comments. Benitez made an expensive mistake and quickly moved to rectify it. Even the best managers have made them, Ferguson, Wenger and Mourinho included (can I hear yo.u say Steve Sidwell?). We talk endlesly about them but in the short period tht Hodgson was in charge he hd us on a relegation trajectory, bought in high wage, low value players, and almost drove out some important players as well as alienting a large section of fans with his comments and tctics. Plenty of material to study and comment on yet it's Benitez again. I WANT to hear your take on this recent turbulent period under Hodgson. His prospects as a future England manager and his tctical philosophy. Was he a step up from Rafa? Were there any positives from his reign? The fact is fans will alwys love Benitez if only because he won us the Champions League. However given the vitriol given to Hodgson it would be good to read a balnced article on him exmining his flaws and successes. This obsession with Rafa does not lend us the impression of an LFC blog but of a Rafa etc blog.

    Ps: please do not delete Jamie. You are an intelligent and you have the ability to reasonably discuss these points and widen your scope. Just saying that fans were being rude to Hodgson is not defence or analysis enough for an LFC blog. Fans will get angry and may say a few dodgy things. But that shouldn't mask the debate. It's worth debating. Let's do that.

  23. jaimie, your just bias, and act like a spoilt kid who has to have his own way all the time and cant stand an ounce of critisism. wats the point of having a section for people to reply when all you want to do is be heard. if you cant take the heat get out the kitchen!! do you have the bottle to show this???????????

  24. Hows about this...Rafa signed Keane...realised Keane was a 'bottler' on the big stage like he was at Inter and flogged him of quick time.

    Lets see If Kenny has the same bottle with Andy Carroll.

  25. "He failed in managing many football clubs after he left Liverpool"

    Well in that case I have "many" wives and "many" heads.

  26. I don't think its Rafa style to talk about players in a disrespectful manner.  There's little point in saying he didn't want Keane now or before because thats  just not very nice to Keane

  27. Good point. There is more respect for Hodgson out of pity then there is for Benitez. Benitez came from a completely different country and lifestyle. He came to one of the biggest clubs in the world and didn't buckle under the pressure like Hodgson did. He respected the fans. He even moved back to Liverpool because its his home now. Hodgson was a Englishman but didn't have a clue how to manage a club of Liverpool's stature. Benitez is a victim of the high expectations he himself placed at the club. 

  28. I just discovered this website and couldn't stop laughing when I saw your avatar "Tormentor-in-chief of the Pro-Benitez Cult". 

    You are obviously some plastic fan who has no proper understanding of football. Rafa won us the champions league and got to a 2nd final, won an F.A cup, got to a league up final, and won the community shield, european super cup and got to a world club final. We also finished 2nd in the league under him with out highest ever points total in the premiership. Istanbul was the greatest game in out history. He masterminded incredible european night wins against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Inter, Juventus, Arsenal and Chelsea (Lets not forget the incredible Olympiakos night either). He bought in  players that we were never able to attract before (Torres, Alonso, Reina, Mascherano etc.). He took very good players like Carragher and Gerrard and turned them into Liverpool legends. He did all this with basically no support from the ownership and idiot fans like you belittling him. 

    You are an ungrateful fool. Don't worry. When we going further and further backwards over the next few years with Kenny despite spending more than Rafa ever had you will realise how incredible Rafa was. 

  29. Jamie....Jamie.....Jamie,
    Benitez did want Robbie Keane, He had ear marked £9m for him, that's all he wanted to pay, His no_1 prority was a left back.


    Also, people keep going on about Alonso,
    1st up, Benitez brought Alonso to Anfield for a snip, £10.5million.

    Second, Juventus offered us mega money for Alonso, which Liverpool accepted, But Alonso didn't want to go to Italy....

    Thats is where ALonso/Benitez relationship broke down...
    After that it was inevitable he would be sold, and the £20m offer from Juventus was the bench mark for all futcher offers.

    This has been given to me by 2 seperate sources (The Alonso bit)

    1 an explayer of the squad.