Maxi Rodriguez has made the astonishing admission that he lied to Rafa Benitez about speaking English to seal a move to Liverpool.
The Argentine winger completed a move to Anfield a decade ago on a free transfer after impressing for Atletico Madrid, and at international level.
How did Rodriguez fare at Liverpool? Five things to know…
- At Atletico, Rodriguez briefly took over as captain after the departure of another future Liverpool player, Fernando Torres.
- Liverpool signed Rodriguez on a free transfer in January 2010 and would scored 17 goals in 73 games.
- His best season was his first campaign at Anfield (2010-11), in which he scored seven times in the final four Premier League games to take his total to 10.
- The late flurry included two hat-tricks against Fulham and Birmingham City.
- In his final season in England, he scored twice in Liverpool’s 2012 League Cup-winning campaign – including a key goal away to Chelsea.
Now 39, Rodriguez has revealed the cunning ploy he hatched to ensure his move to Merseyside came to fruition.
Benitez made no bones about wanting his players to communicate on the same wavelength, meaning everyone in his dressing room had to speak English.
In order to circumvent Benitez’s staunch approach, the Argentine says he lied to him about speaking the language and only revealed the truth to the Spaniard during the press conference of his unveiling as a Liverpool player.
“I was very happy at Atletico because I was the captain and I knew the city, but I was always crazy about English football,” Rodriguez told Juan Pablo Sorin on Instagram live.
“Rafa told me that it was very important that everyone spoke English in the changing room. He asked me if I could and I said ‘yes’ to be calm. Of course, I didn’t want the transfer to collapse.
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“We arrived in England and I had the press conference. [Benitez] said he would start and then I would follow.
“It was then that I grabbed him and told him, ‘Look Rafa, I need to confess: I don’t speak English. The only thing I can say is hello.’
“I didn’t want the transfer to move to fall through! He replied: ‘No, you are a son of a b****.’ We both laughed and then, well, I then had to learn!”
General audiences will know Rodriguez best from his volley against Mexico at the 2006 World Cup.
Happy 34th birthday to Maxi Rodríguez. Here's *that* goal in the 2006 World Cup vs. Mexico. Pick it out! pic.twitter.com/oWGfFL95bw
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 2, 2015
Rodriguez was awarded Goal of the Tournament, in which Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Germany. Roriguez would end his international career with 16 goals and 57 caps.