Rafael Benitez a Better Fit Than Louis van Gaal for United, Says Dietmar Hamann

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez of Spain gives indications to his players during a serie A soccer match between Parma and Napoli at Parma's Tardini stadium, Italy, Sunday, April 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
Marco Vasini

Now that Manchester United have officially moved on from David Moyes, fans and pundits alike are having a field day linking managers to the vacancy left in his wake, and at least one man believes the Glazers should seriously consider former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

Speaking on The Colin Murray Showvia talkSPORT's Alex Varney, Dietmar Hamann, who played under the Spaniard during his time at Anfield, believes his former manager has all the necessary qualifications for the job:

It is certainly a name they should consider. They need somebody with a track record who can work with the big players, who knows what is required to get in the Champions League and play a big role in it for years to come.
Rafa Benitez is in Italy at Napoli but his family still lives in the north west and he has always made it clear that he would love to return to the Premier League at some stage.

Benitez had a somewhat rocky relationship with former team boss and United legend Alex Ferguson, something Hamann acknowledged. But according to the former German international, that shouldn't necessarily be an issue:

He, and Manchester United, will be a very good match. He had a few run-ins with Fergie but he only pointed out a few facts, as he would say.

If I was a United fan I would want somebody who gives us the best possible chance to get back in the Champions League.

Louis van Gaal, who is currently managing the Dutch national team and will be out of contract at the conclusion of this summer's World Cup, is seen as the early favourite to be United's manager when the 2013-14 Premier League season opens.

But according to Hamann, Van Gaal could possibly be a bad fit for the Mancunians. He called the Dutchman "not the most likeable guy" and "not easy to get on with."

As it turns out, Hamann isn't the only one questioning whether Van Gaal would be the best fit for the Red Devils. Indy Kaila, host of the KRFM 97.3 Drive Time Football Show, has similar doubts:

It is very hard to argue with the Dutchman's track record. His second spell with Barcelona didn't go as planned, and he is yet to win any silverware with Holland, a job he took in 2012. But he does have a UEFA Champions League trophy and several Dutch, Spanish and German league trophies to his name.

Van Gaal's big personality and brashness both on and off the pitch make him the kind of authoritative figure any major club needs to control a dressing room, and he seeks to bring the kind of attractive, attacking football fans were longing to see from the club under Moyes.

He has never managed a Premier League side, however, and given his tendency to always speak his mind regardless of the situation, the full-on media coverage that comes with English football could turn him into an unpopular figure in a hurry.

Victor R. Caivano

Benitez's managerial career has been up and down. Great success during his early years at Liverpool and a Europa League win with Chelsea last season stand in sharp contrast to his miserable years at Internazionale and his final years at Anfield.

The Spaniard isn't the most likeable personality himself and is far from a popular figure around Manchester, to put it kindly. Twitter came out in force to dismiss the chances of Benitez being at the helm of the club next season, with the Manchester Evening News' James Robson being one of the few to keep it civil:

Benitez has impressed during his first season at Napoli, a club that could have fallen in Serie A following the sale of star forward Edinson Cavani. With free-flowing, attractive football and an impressive amount of young talent, the club looks to be very much on the rise in a league that has been dominated by Juventus in recent years.

The project has helped restore a lot of Benitez's credibility following his season at Inter and the odd circumstances surrounding his dismissal from Chelsea in favour of Jose Mourinho, so it would seem unlikely the Spaniard would leave the club after just one season.

Van Gaal still seems like the most likely candidate for the Manchester job at this point in time. While it's fun to dream up scenarios in which other coaches, including long shots such as Benitez, could come in, it is important to differentiate between more realistic options and fantasies.

Don't expect the rumour mill to stop churning out stories, though. Managing the Red Devils is still one of the most desirable jobs in all of world football, so plenty more managers will likely be linked with the post.



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