Rafa Benitez risks Cristiano Ronaldo relationship by failing to say he is best player he's ever coached

It is the second time that the former Liverpool manager has failed to praise Ronaldo highly enough

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The Independent Online

Rafa Benitez has made another gaffe by once again refusing to praise Cristiano Ronaldo highly enough.

In the build-up to Real Madrid's clash against Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, the former Liverpool manager was asked again whether the Portuguese forward is the best in the world.

Benitez confirmed that he believed Ronaldo is currently the world's best, but stopped short of describing him as the best player he has ever coached.

 

"He is an excellent player," the Spanish coach said. "He is one of the best I have coached. I cannot say he is the best because I have had some very good ones. But at this moment, for me, he is our player and he is the best in the world."

Benitez upset Madrid supporters last month when he failed to tow the club line and name Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world, which is the proper 'on-message' response to be given by any club official.

He later atoned for his mistake but may have to do so again after this latest refusal to commend the three-time Balon D'Or winner without qualification.

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Rafa Benitez also hit back at Steven Gerrard after criticism in his new book

Benitez also dismissed Steven Gerrard's claims, made in the player's latest autobiography, that he acted cold towards the ex-Liverpool captain during his time at Anfield.

"I have read the quotes and I believe he is wrong," he said.

"Out of the respect that I have for Stevie and for the value and appreciation I have for him, and for Liverpool and the supporters I think it’s best to just let it pass

Benitez went on to claim that Gerrard claims were merely made to drive sales of his book.

"He has brought out a book," Benitez said, when questioned why Gerrard would publicise details about their professional relationship. "Now I’m the Real Madrid manager, that sells."

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