Rafa Benitez vs. Sir Alex Ferguson: The History of Their Rivalry

Dan Fitch@@DJFitchFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 25:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson shouts from the touch line as Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez (L) looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on October 25, 2009 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Ding ding, round two! Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson feuded for the entirety of the Spaniard's time at Liverpool. Now the manager of Chelsea, it looks as if Benitez is determined to open old wounds.

Ferguson was in typical controversial form at the weekend, criticising the linesman Simon Beck over his performance in Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. 

When asked of his thoughts on Ferguson's complaint, Benitez reignited his war of words with the Old Trafford boss. The Daily Mail reports that Benitez claimed that is is "obvious" that Ferguson is putting pressure on match officials—a charge that Benitez repeatedly accused Ferguson of while he was in charge at Liverpool.

With Ferguson not known for his ability to turn the other cheek, it looks like Benitez vs. Fergie II is on. In celebration of one of football's greatest grudges, we take a look at the history of their rivalry.

Benitez Unleashes The Facts

In January 2009, with Liverpool top of the league, Rafa Benitez gave an extraordinary press conference in which he produced a piece of paper and listed a number of 'facts', that accused Ferguson of trying to influence referees and the football authorities. Watch the video below:

Ferguson Looks Out For His Friends

It's not just Fergie that Benitez has fallen out with. He's also had a long-running feud with Sam Allardyce, which peaked when Benitez seemed to make a 'game over' gesture when Liverpool scored against Allardyce's Blackburn.

Benitez also upset David Moyes by referring to Everton as a "small club". Alex Ferguson rode in to his friends' rescue, unleashing the following barb towards Benitez.

"I saw it and I'm surprised nobody else picked it up. I've never had any issues like that with Rafa, though. He's never done that—never had a chance.

"I think you should respect a manager. I don't think you'd ever get me doing something like that. You won't. You have to have humility."

"Irrespective of what Rafa Benitez says, Everton are a big club. He called them a small club, which just points to his arrogance."

On The Pitch—Benitez's Liverpool vs. Ferguson's Manchester United

There was only one winner here and as always seems to be the case, it was Alex Ferguson. Benitez was at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, in which time they won the Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup.

In the same time period, Manchester United won the Champions League, three Premier League titles, the League Cup and the Club World Cup.

'Lucky' Benitez Returns To Chelsea

Benitez is being accused of reigniting the war between himself and Ferguson, but in truth it was the United boss who got the first dig in, back in November.

On the eve of Chelsea's appearance in the World Club Championship, Ferguson was quoted as saying: "On his CV he could have two world championships and nothing to do with the construction of the teams.

"Rafael Benitez is very lucky. Jose Mourinho won the treble at Inter; Rafa took over and they won the world title without having to do anything."

Now that Benitez has hit back, this one could run and run...

So what do you think? Does Ferguson put undue pressure on match officials with his comments? Is he treated as a special case by the FA.

Let us know by voting in the poll and giving us your comments below.

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