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Materazzi is lying, insists Chelsea boss Benitez

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By Peter Stickney

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez’s difficult relationship with former Inter defender Marco Materazzi has re-surfaced recently. The Italian defender has gone on record calling Benitez “weak”, an accusation that his former manager has vigorously denied, telling the Guardian: “He's lying. He's lying. He's lying, just lying.

Rafael Benitez and Marco Materazzi

In an interview Materazzi gave recently to France Football, he said of Benitez: “He is not my ideal coach, if I was a club president, I'd never employ him. A great boss like Marcello Lippi or Mourinho knows how to get their demands across to a dressing room. Whereas Benítez, well he wanted to put them all in writing, 10 or 12 rules, like the Highway Code or being at school.

At Inter's training centre there were photos on the wall of all the most successful past coaches, from Helenio Herrera to Roberto Mancini and Mourinho. Benitez had the ones of José taken down. With that gesture, he showed his character: that of a weak person.

Materazzi, who played for Benitez whilst the pair were at Inter, is a highly decorated player having won five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias, four Supercoppa Italias, the Champions League and the World Cup during his 16-year career.

But while he is well known for his many honours he was also renowned for his aggressive style and no-nonsense defending. He was been sent off twenty five times during his career, including four red cards during his twenty-five games for Everton in the Premier League.

In response to Materazzi’s claims Benitez said: “Everything he has said is a lie. Simple. Everything he talks about: about me, about the two things he says about me when he claims he was talking to [Benítez's predecessor at Inter Jose] Mourinho about me coming in, and about the pictures around the club. It's all a lie.

Nobody knew Mourinho was leaving after the European Cup final in 2010 and no one knew the Inter position would be available. Nobody knew I was going to Inter, even me. So it's a lie. I went there and wanted to be professional and to respect people.

In Italy everyone knows Materazzi, and at Inter everyone knows him,” Benitez continued. “I've spoken to members of his family and they have told me I have to ‘learn to understand Marco’, and I wanted to be nice but everyone knows him. He cannot discredit anyone because everyone knows about him.

Benitez was sacked by Inter after six months and 25 games in charge. He spent almost a year out of the game before being appointed Chelsea’s interim manager at the end of November. Chelsea face Swansea City in the Capital One Cup semi-final this evening away at the Liberty Stadium. If they are to make it to the final they will have to overturn a two-goal deficit.

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