Benitez launches ‘priest and sugar’ rant at Hodgson

Nov 2, 2010
Jonathan Harwood

Former Liverpool boss Benitez hits back at his successor using an old Spanish metaphor

What has Rafa Benitez been drinking since he moved to Milan? While in charge of Liverpool the highly-strung Spaniard was not averse to the odd rant, but they were generally 'fact' related - as Manchester United fans can testify - but since moving to Italy and taking over at Inter Milan his outbursts have taken on an altogether more cryptic flavour.

In his latest attack on Roy Hodgson, the man who succeeded him in the Anfield hotseat, Benitez spoke of flips and flops, priests and even mounds of sugar as he rejected criticisms of his transfer policy at Liverpool.

The comments came after his "white liquid in a bottle" attack on his former employers two weeks ago, in which he invoked the spirit of John the milkman from the Wirral to attack Liverpool's  former managing director Christian Purslow.

This time the man in his sights was Roy Hodgson, who had criticised the number of "expensive failures" in the Liverpool squad that he inherited in the summer.

Speaking to the English press ahead of Inter Milan's Champions League game with Spurs, Benitez hit back, telling Hodgson that he was "talking about things that he doesn't know."

"Every single press conference is worse than the last one," declared Benitez, before adding: "Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar. He doesn't understand, maybe he has been in the job for not so long.

"We gave the fans the pride. Again. We fought for the fans, we fought for the club and we fought for our players. Maybe he cannot understand this.

"He signed nine players. I left that squad with £10m net spending, I left that squad with a value of £300m value and 13 internationals. So instead of talking about flips and flops, he has to concentrate on the job, try to do his best and not talk about the level of his players."

Benitez also claimed credit for bringing Kenny Dalglish back to the club and rejected Hodgson's suggestion that he had tried to marginalise him.

The priest comment, like the milk analogy two weeks ago, is thought to be an old Spanish turn of phrase. It refers to the black robes of a priest, which are easy to spot against a white background.

Before launching into his attack on Hodgson, Benitez, who is now in charge of Inter Milan, said he was only talking about Liverpool because the media kept asking him about his former club.

He said he was enjoying the challenge of managing the Italian and European champions, who take on Spurs at White Hart Lane tonight.

"I am really pleased to be in Italy with a group of players who are really good and the press are really good," he said.

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