5 Mar 2014

'I wasn't happy': £30m star blasts LFC & admits he got 'fed-up' at Anfield. Benitez to blame...?

Seven years after leaving Anfield, former Reds defender Gabriel Paletta has lifted the lid on his unhappy time at Liverpool, and revealed the reasons why he quit the club after only 18 months.

Under Rafa Benitez, Liverpool signed dozens of young players who came in for small fees, rotted away in the reserves, and then disappeared into obscurity, and Paletta - who cost the club £2m in 2006 - was part of that unfortunate group.

During his time at Liverpool, Paletta made just 8 appearances for the club, and the Reds ultimately made a £1.5m loss on the Argentinean, who now plays for Serie A stalwarts Parma.

In an interview with La Repubblica this week, Paletta - who just received his first call-up to the Italy national team - painted a picture of a very unfriendly Anfield under Benitez. He noted:

“I got fed up and went home. I should have been more patient but I wasn’t happy at Liverpool. I was alone. I only remember the cold. In a year, I never went out for dinner with a team-mate.”

Whatever Paletta's failings as a player, it's disappointing to learn that LFC seemingly failed to prioritise the social integration of young players at the club. In my view, Benitez, the coaches, and even Gerrard (as Captain), should've arranged regular social events/team dinners etc with all members of the squad in a bid to facilitate bonding/friendships etc.

Maybe LFC did this, and Paletta was just hugely anti-social (!), but given his comments, I find that hard to believe. Benitez is not renowned for his personal touch with players; he's not an 'arm around the shoulder' type of manager, so it's possible that he overlooked the social integration side of LFC. As such, perhaps this is why so many promising young players came and went during the Benitez era?

Paletta has certainly come a long way since his Anfield misery. He's now an integral performer for Parma, and with 108 appearances for the club so so far, he's also coveted by other Serie A teams, including AC Milan. Indeed, last summer, Parma CEO Pietro Leonardi slapped a huge price tag on the Argentine, which shows his value to the club. Leonardi told ESPN:

“Whoever wants to sign Paletta has to pay €35m [£30m]. There are no negotiations about that. Parma are not in the habit of selling its best players, [Paletta] is one of Parma's best players.”

If LFC had made more of an effort to properly integrate young players during the Benitez era, who knows what might've happened...?



  1. Rafa spent too much time doing research for his rants. He must have forgotten he had footballers (young) to tend to. Sad to have lost out on another exceptional player at a loss.

  2. Mr. Point Of View12:08 pm, March 05, 2014

    Oversea player
    far from home
    adapt new culture
    I cant blame he looking elsewhere where he feel more comfortable and promising for his career. I really pity on his case.

  3. Benitez bought a lot of rubbish players boy!

  4. He's having a bit of a whinge isn't he. It's nice to be have a an arm around your shoulder but at the end of the day, its a job isn't it? I've had jobs where I have had cold bosses or even oppressive bosses but at the end of the day, your performance speaks for itself. Good on him for finally becoming a first team regular at Parma, but he's not worth 30mil and he's nowhere near Sakho in strength, Agger in on the ball skills, or Carra in heart and tenacity. Being a Parma first team CB is nothing like beong our first team CB. Give Rafa a break.

  5. The Kop are usually quite friendly towards opposition keepers. I suspect that trend would be quite severely broken when Pepe comes to town in a United shirt. The boos would be quite remarkable.

  6. Clearly Paletta has not "disappeared into obscurity" so no, he doesn't fit into that category. It certainly says something about the cold shoulder of Rafa Benitez but it also says something about the scouts who found this clearly talented player. I really thought Paletta would make something of his Liverpool career but for the mentioned reasons it seems he just wasn't happy. Good on him for finally making it.

  7. Mourinho has a problem with LFC. He didn't need Salah, but just didn't want us to have him. No way in a million centuries will Mourinho watch Luke Shaw join LFC.
    Yes, I understand that players don't always get to play for their favourite clubs, but Shaw has a very good chance of so doing. We'd be better off focusing on players that we have an 80% chance of signing, rather than players that we only have 5% chance or less, of getting.
    I mean, if it was that easy to buy the next Messi.....oh, but we just tried that and got gazumped by Chelski.

  8. I remember being up on this player and recall his fall from playing and wondering why??? And its ironic as I just catched Parma on tele recently thinking, is this the same player that busted at Pool? Some players just need certain things. Clearly this boy was homesick... Wonder if he would transfer to Napoli now or what response he may have if asked...??

  9. Odd that the Spanish lads didn't make more of an effort with him. Gerrard maybe should have done more as captain, but the Spanish speaking players at the club at the time really should have made more of an effort.

    For those who haven't seen it, here is Paletta's hair:

  10. This is a great example of liverpools problems over the years with the youth academy.
    It looks like BR is sorting it out a bit better though.
    My personal belief when it comes to young players is to develop the young men off the field as much as on it.
    Im not saying we need to baby them but theres no point having the best young player in the world if he's unhappy or running a much around town, we need to develop them into men as much as players.