Gary Neville wasn’t surprised to see Rafa Benitez sacked by Real Madrid and dismissed as ‘ridiculous’ claims his Valencia predecessor still watches the team.
It was reported in El Pais that Nuno Espirito Santo has been viewing training sessions on behalf of agent Jorge Mendes, who has a number of clients at Mestalla, despite having left Los Che late last year, to be replaced by Neville.
“Is that journalist here? I’ve never heard anything more ridiculous in my life,” Super Deporte reports Neville as replying when the subject was raised at a Press conference prior to the Granada Copa del Rey tie.
The claim added that Valencia owner Peter Lim asked for a replacement for Nuno that wasn’t a Mendes client, with Peter Kenyon acting as the go-between in getting Neville.
“It’s a fantasy story with no hint of reality. I don’t know what to say. It’s nonsense,” the former Manchester United defender continued.
“In England I’d use an expletive but I don’t know how it’d be translated and I’d prefer not to say it.”
Neville, in his first role as a Head Coach, was opposite Benitez in what proved to be his last game on the Madrid bench, and was asked about the decision to install Zinedine Zidane.
“I’ve seen a lot in football and I’m not surprised, not that a Coach has been sacked. Benitez is a very good Coach but Madrid isn’t our club and I have to concentrate on my team and my work,” he replied.
“The time each Coach gets is getting shorter and it’s unfortunate, but we have to accept it.
“Zidane? It’s Madrid’s choice, nothing to do with me. I was sincere when I came here and didn’t hide that I hadn’t been a Coach, and it was a great opportunity and a very difficult job.
“Sometimes you’re a Coach without experience before your first match. Because you don’t have experience it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be successful.
“I believe in the opportunity, not only because that’s what I have here. I believe in opportunity.”