Benayoun: Benitez was trying to destroy my confidence

Yossi Benayoun has singled out Rafael Benitez as the reason he left Liverpool for their Premier League rivals Chelsea, accusing the Spaniard of trying to break him and treating him with a lack of respect.

Benayoun, who joined Chelsea for an undisclosed fee on 2 July, blames Benitez – who has also left the club for Internazionale – for "trying to destroy my confidence.

"I made up my mind to leave a long time ago because of Benitez. He never treated me with the respect I deserved. If I played well, I never felt he gave me credit," said the Israel midfielder.

"When I scored, I still expected to be out of the team the next game. And when the fans wanted me to play, Benitez told me he couldn't understand why."

The 30-year-old continued: "There are many examples of him treating me badly. Last season, against Fulham and Lyons, the fans booed when I was subbed. They thought I was playing well but Benitez told me he was surprised they booed because I was not good enough.

"It was as if the fans' reaction worked against me. The situation got worse afterwards.

"He told me I was a better player as a substitute instead of starting in the team. Then, when we played Birmingham after I hadn't started a game for a month, he didn't tell me I was starting until two hours before the game.

"He tried to destroy my confidence. You can't treat a player like this and expect him to be happy. I felt so unhappy but, out of respect to the club, I never spoke out. The players and the people at the top of the club knew how I felt.

"I don't want to speak on behalf of other players at Liverpool, but people know what happened to Albert Riera and Xabi Alonso. It was the same for me. Benitez tried to break me like he broke Riera.

"I was sure he wanted me to attack him in the press during the season so he could turn the fans against me, so I kept quiet. I felt he was waiting for me to make a mistake so he could use it against me."

The Israel international was told his time at Anfield was over by Benitez the day before the final game of last season, at Hull.

He explained: "Benitez pulled me to one side after training and said: 'You will not be in the squad for this game. Thank you for your three years of service, now you can call your agent to do a deal with another club.

"That's when Chelsea made an offer and the deal was done before he left.

"I knew I had to get away from Benitez. I could not risk waiting to see if he kept his job and I could not turn down such a massive club as Chelsea. It is good for Liverpool he has gone, but it was too late for me."

On his switch to Chelsea, Benayoun added: "I'm not stupid. I know they have many great players and it will be hard to play in the team every week.

"But what's important for me is I know I will be treated with respect. Carlo Ancelotti is a fantastic manager and he knows how to treat players."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue