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."
Latest in Sport
Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United: Saints yet to receive 'serious offer' but midfielder could complete move by end of this week
Memphis Depay latest: Manchester United signing turns 'focus' on the season ahead
Sergio Ramos to Manchester United: Real Madrid defender 'wants' Old Trafford switch
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez nears exit as Liverpool eye move for striker despite revealing Real Madrid video
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato