The Spaniard admitted that the money was good in an interview with George Caulkin, but in his first press conference with Dalian Yifang he claimed ‘I’ve had bigger offers’ – insisting he was in China for much more than just money.
Ryan Babel – the man Benitez brought to Liverpool for £11.5m in 2007 – isn’t buying it, however, with him commenting with a ‘LOL’ in response to Rafa’s claims below:
This is a bit rich coming from a man who played in the Abu-Dhabi first-division just a few years ago.
I’ll be honest, a part of me once questioned Rafa’s move to China, but then I realised that we have absolutely no right to criticise a man who left a club showing absolutely ZERO ambition (despite his best efforts) to join one whose intentions are clearly the exact opposite. It’s as simple as that.
One thing this also proves is how laughable those reports were claiming Rafa Benitez wanted to bring the Dutchman to Newcastle should he have stayed at St James’ Park this summer.
Yes he signed him at Liverpool, being the man to give him his first shot in English football, but they parted ways on bad terms – not forgetting the fact Mike Ashley was never going to sign a man turning 33 later this year!