8 Nov 2011

BENITEZ: Midfield flop had 'great potential' but 'wasn't allowed to stay'...

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez signed quite a few top class players during his time at Anfield, but even his most ardent supporters would concede he made his fair share of transfer mistakes. One such mistake was (arguably) the signing of Sebastian Leto in January 2007, and in a recent interview, Benitez sought to justify his decision to sign the player.

Leto only made 4 appearances in his brief career at Anfield, and didn't really make any significant impression. In an interview with Exedra Sports, Benitez revealed why he signed Leto in the first place:

"When he [Sebastian Leto] was with us, and this is what we noticed most of all, he was a player with enormous potential; quite quick, with ability in attacking 1 on 1 situations, with good technique and a good shot. Above all, what stood out was that he was a player who could unbalance a defence and also with good vision.

"We thought that he had the necessary potential to mature a lot in a competition like the Premier League which requires special qualities, mostly due to the physical qualities that he had. He was a player who was really interesting with regard to the future".

"He played several games for us and he did well. The basic problem was his work permit and the rules they have in England. Let’s just say he wasn’t allowed to stay after the first few months in England and we had no option but to sell him abroad. It wasn’t what we wanted for him but we had to accept the decision as it stood".

I don't remember seeing any evidence of a player with 'good vision', but to be fair, Leto didn't have many opportunities to impress.

If his work permit issues had been resolved, would Leto have made it at Liverpool?

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Leto is the top scorer in the Greek Super League at the moment; whether he would be equally successful in one of the top European leagues is of course an open question.

    In my view, however, the one we really should not have let go is Aquilani (and there were no work permit problems there to contend with), who is performing fantastically well in Italy and would have added that extra creativity and attacking intent to the Liverpool midfield. As a classical trequartista, I am surprised King Kenny let him go, although to be fair the one who is really responsible for the loss of Aquilani is Hodgson.

  2. I think he could have been one for the team. Many players not as good as him get the chance, not just British players, others too.

    Too bad he had to leave bacause if LFC had him they maybe would not use money to bring players like Riera who get high wages and think they are worth it.

  3. I think the 'few good players' was actually a terrific 1st 11 plus one or two - you don't get #1 rated in Europe, do 2 finals, humiliate some of biggest names in world football while challenging for the EPL without that.

    That senior team was a mix of 1 expensive player/ year (14m+ to include alonso I think), a couple of inheritances from the youth (Stevie, Carra), and Houllier (eg Hyppia) and then a range of 0-10m players.   Half a dozen of the 'failures' totalled about £5m.

    Trying to buy a whole squad while dabbling in the bargain basement is tough when expectations are to challenge for the title, and I look forward to the manager who is going to challenge the now big 3.

    Sorry to say this but I think this article is filler.  How can you comment on Leto with such a brief spell?

  4. I would have loved to keep Aqua - but he was unsettled here and was doing everything he could to get back to Italy... Meireles is the one that could possibly could have been convinced to stay and instead of buying two central midfielders this summer we could have actually signed a right winger.

  5. Aqua and Raul were too good to let go but what's done is done!!!!

  6. Rafa bought Leto for £1.8m and sold him for £3m.Someitmes potential takes time to be realised.lfchistory.com shows every single transfer ever so go on that and see for yourself.Also Rafa got rid of all houlliers great players haha for less than £50m all 18 of them at a time when Man utd were spending £30m on Rio and £30m on Rooney and £28m on veron.Yet Rafa still won the champions league with Houlliers flops and had no money to spend.We have let go a great man and manager and i feel we will just end up like a newcastle or a leeds now great fans great support but no success,well done all you who wanted a great manager out of our club well done.

  7. Absolutely right! I do not see Kenny getting back to Rafa's level.  Rafa was competing with Chelsea-Their equivalent now is Man City.  If we were toe to toe with Man City then people would understand what Rafa was all about!



  10. were we really toe to toe with Chelsea??

  11. Leto looked like a playground bully - he was able to have his way with players a lot smaller than him, but even in the reserves every time I saw him go up against anybody even close to his size he looked to go hiding.

    Still, Liverpool have been desperate for wingers and so I still would've given him more of a chance (or just actually bought more ready made, specialist wingers ffs!) rather than continuing to mess about with such inappropriate players have Liverpool have done over the years and are currently doing too

  12. If yer Auntie were yer Uncle she would be scratchin her balls right now .

    More woulda coulda shoulda , if only this , if only that , if only the other , bullshit from Benetiz .
    What happened at Inter Rafa ?

  13. He found an aging squad that had done no gym work at all for 3 years.  When they all went into the gym, they started dropping like flies with injuries and he was given no money for back up.

    Kudos to him.  He tried to change the philosophy that Mourinho had installed (ie counter attack football) to a more attacking, pressing game but the players found it physically hard.  Still managed to win two trophies though, no matter how small.

    The guy is due some credit.

    Mourinho has a habit of inheriting reasonable squads, getting a bit more out of them and then moving on after 3 years.  Coincidentally, three years is often the time that people think a squad needs rebuilding.  

  14.  If he is due some credit then why did they sack him after not even one single season ?

    Did he even last 6 months ?

    He pulled the same egotistical bullsh!t there as he did with us , tried to play politics with the board & put himself between them & the fans , the Italians arent as stupid as us & sacked him , simple as that .

    Like it or not Rafa done a worse job at Inter than Hodgson done at Inter & like it or not had Hodgson been given as long & as much money to spend as Rafa before him he would have done no worse than Rafa at LFC .

    Hodgson is easily as good a manager if not a better manager than Benitez as their history at Inter suggests .

  15. Rafa has been manager of the year in spain.Rafa has won two uefa european manager of the year awards.Rafa won 2 La Ligas with Valencia breaking the dominance of Real and Barca,Rafa was also successful in europe with Valencia winning the uefa cup.Rafa achieved the greatest ever achievement ever by winning the champions league with a squad of rubbish,Jimmy Traore,Smicer,Baros,Mellor,igor biscan,by using his tactical brain to outwit far better opponents in juve,chelsea and a great milan side.Rafa then won a great fa cup against west ham and then got to another champions league final.In the prem he then got 86pts only losing twice all season.Rafa wants the best for his clubs,Rafa fought Hicks and Gillette,Rafa fought for LFC and the fans,dont dare compare Hodgson to a living legend. 

  16.  Rafa is an egotistical money grabbing prideless rent boy .

    He should have walked out after the Boardroom made it public knowledge that they were in talks with Jurgen Klinsman to replace him , but Rafa put money before his pride , the English Press recognized his weakness & went to town on him & made a mockery out of him , the Inter dressing room were aware of it & they treated him with all the respect he deserves , he got sacked & now he is allowing the media to use him as a dancing monkey .

    Whatever Rafa once was ?

    He has lost his way & I cant ever see him climbing his way back to the top of the mountain .

    Not even Tranmere Rovers would give him a job after that .

  17. Totally agree, Brehon. The adulation Reina receives is a mystery to me.
    Sent from iPhone

  18. Finally someone has spoken the truth...am glad there are people with real knowledge like you out there..Rafa was crap ..what's he ever won..he wasted so much money...

    I was wandering if you could help me because i cannot decide who's better King Kenny or the great Roy Hodgson

    ye man am with you on Rafa

  19. Totally disagree,Rafa could of gone to Real Madrid 3 times for a kings ransom,yet due to loyalty fot this club he stayed.Rafa knew Hicks and Gillette were the money grabbers and because Rafa spoke out about this this is the reason h and g wanted rid of him because he had the guts to stand up to them.Rafa put his pride before money,Rafa has donated a fortune to charity.The reason the press and Bruce,Allardyce and Redknapp ganged up on rafa is because they are all Fergies poodles and Rafa stood upto Fergie and Fergie hated being told the truth so got his underachieving backhand taking thieving mates to gang up on him as well as the press who we all know are on man utds side.Fergie could see Rafa outperforming him in europe and getting closer in the prem,so he used his dirty underhand bullying tactics to brainwash all the idiots who cannot see a priest on a moun tain of sugar.FACT>

  20. LoL @ your Facts .

    It was Rafas agent & Rafa who circulated those lies about Real Madrid wanting him when Rafa was due to renegotiate his contract .

    You are very naive .

    Rafa did make a donation to a Hillsborough Charity after he refused to resign because it would have ment he got no severence payment .

    We paid him over £6 million to get rid of him & he donated less than £100.000 of that , which of course was tax deductible & also made him look less of a money grabbing  prideless rent boy in the eyes of the public .

    The People of Liverpool are much to kind to say what I am saying about Rafa , its not their way , I am not from here & it is my way to call a spade a spade .

    The managers who appeared to gang up on Rafa all happened to be British , all from the same culture , all were disgusted by his prideless money grabbing ways .

    Not only was it not in character with British & Irish behavior among honorable men it also made their jobs harder because it made their profession less respectable .

    Regardless of what you think of British & Irish people , they do have principles & the English in particular are very rigid about them , hence the amount of Wars they get into .

    Perhaps Rafa can see a Priest on top of his Spanish Sugar Mountain , but within these Celtic shores he couldn’t see a turf in his tae let alone the woods for the trees .


  21.  Quit begging for charity , use yer own brain for once & compare Hodgsons team to Dalglish's team at the end of the season ,

    Or Compare their records at Blackburn where they both managed under the same chairman .

    You are not my daughter & I owe you nothing so go pester some other man who is a faceless stranger to you on line & beg him for whatever , coz yer gonna get nothin but a kick in tha stones & dogs abuse from me .

    Got that ?

    Gooood .

    Now heres 50p , go & get outa my sight .

  22. Brehon - how many times do I have to make this point? Personal attacks on anyone (other posters, players, former managers etc) are barred on this site, so please stop hurling personal insults at Benitez.
    I enjoy reading your posts, and your views are alway welcome, but no more personal attacks please.
    Thanks, JK

    Sent from iPhone

  23.  Renia is a decent keeper JK but attitudes like that have no place at our club .

    If thats the attitude of a vice captain then its no woonder no youth players are making the grade .

    I say sell him & buy Paul Robinson in January .

  24. NEVER will the board take him back.  First he wouldn't get along with Comolli over who has total control of transfers.  Benitez is difficult to work with.

  25.  I made no comments about Benitez in his private life , I commented only on what is within the public domain & I am every bit as entitled to comment, , hold an opinion & air an opinion on whatever is within the public domain just like everyone else is doing .

    Benetiz may have pulled the wool over the eyes of womin , children & foreigners but he didnt & doesnt fool me , no more than Stan Collymore does & like Stan Collymore he is the author of his own disaster & I am merely commenting upon commonly known facts , I am making no predictions or tellin no lies .

    Public Domain , JK .

    They made the choice .

    Let them reap what they have sown .

  26. Now now Brehon, you did call Rafa a rent boy.  LOL

  27. Have a word. Take a look at what Hodgson has achieved in his 30 plus years and what Rafa achieved in less than half the time and we'll see who is the better manager. What a ridiculous statement.

  28.  That is an opinion of mine after giving his prideless money grabbing behaviour consideration .

    Should I have called him a prostitute instead , that would imply he is a woman & that would be needlessly offensive to women .

    Rafa behaved the way he did , it is public knowledge & I am both legally & morally within my rights to air an opinion on the information before me .

    I didnt ask Benetiz to come to England & make a mockery of himself , he done that of his own free will & he is a grown man in full control of all his faculty’s .

    I know of no other way to describe his disgraceful behavior so I can only express my disgust for him by comparing him to other so called men who sell their pride for money .

    If Benetiz finds my comment insulting then he should have given his behavior more consideration in the first place .

    I owe him nor any Spaniard one iota , let alone charity .

  29. Calling Benitez a 'prideless rent boy' is a personal insult, and is out if order. You can criticise the man all you lie, just do it without the personal insults.
    Sent from iPhone

  30. You did admire him on more than one occasion...

  31.  I complimented him on his tactics & formations , yes .

    Like I told you before I am nothing if not a fair man .

    Credit where its due & a kick in tha @ass when its due .

  32.  I commented on how I view his public behavior & I made no claims or even hinted at his private life .

    Bottom line is Benitez placed his desire for money before his legacy , his reputation & above all else his pride .

    How else can that be compared to if not to a Rent Boy ?

    I know of no other way of expressing my disgust for his behavior & I welcome any suggestion if for some reason you think Rent Boys are offended by being compared to Benitez & I should consider not insulting them needlessly ?

    Benitez behaved the way he did , I stated my opinion in a fair & even handed manner , I have behaved responsibly & acted within my legal & moral rights .

  33. Look at the clubs they have managed in that time .

    You arent comparing like for like .

    If you compare them at Inter then Hodgson is clearly the better manager .

    I have no doubt that if you gave Hodgson the money Benitez was given over 6 years that he would have achieved similar return at LFC .

  34. His tactics were okay nothing special.  Out-thought in two finals.  Outdone by Wenger, Fergie and Mourinho.

  35. I never said he was better than any of those with his tactics & formations because its never that simple .

    If I were to simplify ?

    When its your clubs time everything falls into place for you & had it been our time under Benitez then his tactics & formations would have been good enough .

    However , the same is true of Hodgsons tactics & Formations ,

    As a matter of fact I cant think of any manager in the Premier League who does have bad tactics & formations .

    Point I'm making is that both Benitez & Hodgson are skilled enough tacticall7 to win trophys when they are at the right club at the right time .

    Not everything is simply Black & White ya see ?

    Theres no Good Guys V Bad Guys .... apart from when Fergie is around ,,, he is EVIL !

  36. so it's down to fate? as in 'it was meant to be'

  37. Bottom line is Benitez placed his desire for money before his legacy , his reputation & above all else his pride ..

    That's your opinion, and if you express it like this, I have no problem with it.

    However, the personal insult thing is non-negotiable. Please don't personally denigrate anyone with your future comments (and you know exactly what I mean), or I will be forced to delete your posts.

  38.  Theres a degree of "Be-Devilment" from the heavens , yes , but there is in every walk of life .

    Invariably the elements have to be manipulated skillfully by the boardroom , the management & a core of mentally tough players .

    Once you get that blend right things start to go your way on the pitch .

    I've seen it all before , I seen Fergie manage it at Utd , first the were hard to beat , then they challenged for cups , then won cups , then challenged for the league then won the league , then stayed on top .

    I seen Dalglish do it at Blackburn .

    I'm seein it happen at City .

    I seen it happen at Chelski over maybe 3 managers to get them there .

    I seen Wegner inherit it at Arsenal .

    I'm seeing us at the point we are hard to beat , playing as a unit & at worst ... capable of challenging for Cups , if we win something this season we will progress quickly .

    Dalglish has "Know How" & although I never doubted that I am still impressed to see it being implimented again so smoothly .

    The man is a master of his art & things are looking good for us , I just hope the Yanks spend big on some real names in January .

    An Injury Prone Robben is still worth 10 extra points over a season .

    Podolski is a top player with the pace , experience & composure to set the Premier League on fire .

    Kaka , is top class .

    Those 3 would be a big statement of intent .

  39. How is that any less an insult than to summarize it by calling him a prideless rent boy which is exactly what a man who places his desire for money before his legacy , his reputation , & above all else his pride , is !!!?

  40. Kenny's applying what he saw and learnt from Paisley.  There's no question about it.   

    What do you think of Zamorra as target man for liverpool? I've been impressed with him this season.

  41.  I've never looked at him seriously .

    He's a bit rough round the edges but I seen him display good character at times , I'd have him on the same level as Kevin Davis at Bolton .

    I dont think he is what we need .

    Cant believe you mentioned him after tellin me what ya thought of 90's Ronaldo & Romario .

  42. Rafa is the one who brought in Lucas. He sold Alonso to Real, so called bought Aqualani who was injured to replace Alonso. But in the end Lucas was given to play who is so handicapped. Clever tactic eh?

  43. I think its clever how you manage to speak about Lucas in every post .

    I think you love Lucas & just complain about hm because you want to marry him & cant help thinking about him .

  44. Yes compared with what we have now in the overated KD, Rafa is godsend.

    Can you imagine spending 100 mill and end up more or less in the same position and worse in lower position than a club that spends much less and with a new manager and new players.

    Rafa would never allow this to happen

  45. Yes let pray together now

  46. Lets not talked about stupidity Brehon. Nothing could be more stupid that to give some overated manager who clearly had seen better days 100 mill and sees him blow 75 mill on a bunch of equally lousy players.  Maybe some thing more stupid is to see someone supporting KD such as yourself.

    KD is as clueless as Hodgson. Only Rafa can save us now

  47. Brehon, this site is about LFC and the whole point of us debating is at the end of the day what is good for LFC. We are all entitled to our opinions and should you disagrees with ours of even with Rafa you could rebut wisely and with facts.

    You are a shame to LFC fans the world over as when pushed to a corner all you could do is dished out this pointless rant and personal insults.

    Grow up boy and if you can't think and speak intelligently, go stay at the sewer from where you came from.

  48. Hodgson the better manager? Hodgson had Roberto Carlos and he replaced him with... Centofanti!!! And above all, see Inter NOW and see why they are crap! Is it the managers fault as well now? Or was it that this team had reached its peak in Mourinho's last season and started to go down? They are in a relegation battle now for Christ's sake!

  49. Lucas is one of the best performers we have! He was the only one to fill the void left by Masch!

  50. i thought the post was about Sebastian Leto ...... most of you think that is some kind of Pokemon - don't you !!! ...... the attacks that people here have taken !! ...... stop for a moment to think your own brain's capabilities in figuring out what the article was actually about !!!!!!!!!

  51. Whoever Benitez signed who would have turn out into flops or not is none of our concern right now, is it? Lets face it Benitez was a good manager at some time did some great things for us, made us won the champions league for the 5th time, the fa cup and brought us really close of winning the title etc but like others before he lost it in the end. We ended up 7th and he got sacked. End of story. Houiller brought us some success as well. I remember a season where we won all possible cups except the title with him in charge. But as Benitez he lost it in the end and was replaced. They both bought some good players hypia, rise, henchoz, westerveld etc in the houiller`s era and torres, alonso, garcia, reina etc in the benitez era. But they also had their fair share of flops. Houiller bought the likes of diouf, pongol, heskey etc while benitez bought others like keane, babel, lucas etc... However in general they all did ok considering the amount of funds at their disposal and their need to sometimes sell before being able to buy. I did not include hodgson because not only was 100% of his signings flops but he himself was biggest flop ever to have managed our club. But this is all in the past. What is worrying now is that despite having been given a very huge sum of money for transfers this season(over 100 million) from our generous new owners, our manager kenny dalglish has been unable to buy a real world class player for us except suarez who rumor has it was apparently being tracked by comolli for a long time before and that dalglish had nothing to do about it except giving his consent for the transfer. A complete squad change like he did was certainly not required. Instead of thinking quantity-wise he should have thought quality-wise and bought only a couple of targets but with real quality like mata, aguero etc All fans including me were expecting big names like that to finally join our ranks and propel us back to the top. Kenny Dalglish however decided to stubbornly go for british still thinking that england is among the best nations in the world and that they keep producing talents every year. He did not realise that time had change since his last spell and that france, england , italy are fading away and making way for others like spain, uruguay etc... Hope he realise his mistakes,try not to prove us wrong by keeping on playing his flops(henderson,caroll etc) thinking they would eventually come good. Accept the fact that mistakes can be made, have been made before by previous managers and will still be made as it can never be predicted who is gonna flop or not, move forward and buy genuine quality comes january.

  52. Yeah. Right. Any day now.

  53. I'm just replying to see how long this can go on.

  54. I'm not suggesting he'd bang in 20+ goals a season.  I'm suggesting as a target man, the role we're expecting from Carroll I have seen Zamorra master it at Fulham.  For a target man the first touch and ball control are essential, this guy does both well.  Take a peek at him next time Fulham play.