Rafa Benitez is building his backroom team at Everton after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti this summer. A story has emerged involving Antonio Gomez, his first-team coach and senior analyst, and Cristiano Ronaldo. It dates back to Benitez’s spell at Real Madrid, and was revealed in The Athletic.
“He’s very good at the crossbar challenge,” a source said of Gomez. “He always challenged the players at Real Madrid and won money from them. One time after training, he had a competition with Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric and took hundreds of euros off all of them.
“Cristiano Ronaldo was watching and Perez decided to challenge him too so shouted over but Ronaldo said, ‘I’m Cristiano Ronaldo, I only hit the back of the net’. It had everyone laughing but Perez likes to say it was because Ronaldo knew he wouldn’t win!”
Benitez spent just a season at Madrid, 2015/16. He had just left Napoli and would go on to Newcastle United, although the Spaniard is best known for his spell with Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, where he won the FA Cup, the Community Shield, the European Super Cup and, of course, the 2005 Champions League. He’s now been tasked with turning Liverpool’s great rivals, Everton, into a team consistently competing for trophies and European football; their last title came back in 1995.
Cristiano enjoyed a little more success in the Spanish capital than Benitez, to put it lightly. The Portuguese joined from Manchester United in 2009 and spent nine years at Madrid before leaving for Juventus in the summer of 2018. He won two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, two Supercopa de Espana titles, four Champions Leagues, two European Super Cups and three Club World Cups with Madrid.