Reina: Beer spat shows trouble was brewing for Benitez
Published 23:00 10/10/11 By David Maddock
While Pepe Reina rates his former Reds boss Rafa Benitez the best he has worked with, he still admits the Spanish coach had flaws.
And the keeper revealed one angry bust-up with his old manager, that he believes exposed the fundamental weakness in his managerial style - the fact that he never played at a high level.
In his new book, Reina takes up the story:
"The biggest argument I ever had with him was about a beer.
"We had lost 2-1 at Besiktas and not played too well. I decided to have a beer.
"I don't see a problem with that, because for me it is healthier to do that than it is to have a glass of Coca-Cola or a drink like that.
"Suddenly, the bartender turned up and said, 'The club doctor, the medical staff and the manager have made it clear to me that they do not want you to have a beer.'
"I asked Rafa what was going on and he said I was forbidden from having a beer.
"I still don't know why this was the case but, whatever the reason, I was fuming.
"I grabbed my bags and stormed off to my room without even having my dinner. That is how upset I was.
"For me, Rafa was in the wrong on that occasion. It suggests the manager does not trust you to look after yourself in the right way.
"As a player, you have to know when the time is right to relax and when it isn't, and I like to think that I have that balance.
"He [Benitez] saw it differently and maybe if he has a small weakness as a manager it is that he did not have a massive career as a player before he moved into management.
"I used to wind him up about this all the time and he would get angry when I reminded him that he had not played at the top level.
"He would list all the teams he played for and they were like third division and university teams! I would say to him, 'That's not football! Tell me where you got the experience that comes with being in the dressing room at the top clubs.'
"I did it with the greatest respect, because I knew his achievements demanded my respect. But maybe it is a truth as well, because by spending time in dressing rooms as a player and getting close enough to the players to understand their moods and the way they are, I think it can make you a better manager.
"You only have to look at what Rafa, Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas and Louis van Gaal have achieved in football and the trophies they have won to realise that you don't have to have had a great career as a player to be a great manager.
"But, in my opinion, the most complete managers are always likely to be the ones who had a great career as players for many years as well."
* Pepe: My Autobiography, £18.99, Trinity Mirror Sport Media. The ebook is also available from amazon.co.uk/kindlestore