Rafael Benitez hits back at Sam Allardyce after Champions League claims

Rafael Benitez of Real Madrid

Rafael Benitez has hit back at claims from Sam Allardyce that he had nothing to do with Liverpool's 2005 Champions League success.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Real Madrid coach Benitez also revealed he was interested in signing Gareth Bale during his time at Anfield.

Allardyce, now the Sunderland manager, has a long-running feud with Benitez dating back mainly to his time in charge at Bolton and Blackburn, which coincided with the Spaniard's period at Liverpool from 2004-10.

New Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce arrives at the Stadium of Light
Image: Allardyce is the new manager of Sunderland

Benitez oversaw a stunning Champions League victory which saw Liverpool recover from 3-0 down against AC Milan in the final in Istanbul.

But Allardyce, in his new autobiography 'Big Sam', wrote: "Of course he can say he won the Champions League with Liverpool, which is something I never did. But it was nowt to do with him.

Sam: I deserved England job

Sam: I deserved England job

Sam Allardyce says he deserved to be England boss in 2006

"I don't blame Benitez for claiming credit but as managers we know the truth. It's like when you make a substitution in desperation and it comes off. You get all the credit for your tactical brilliance when it's often just luck."

Benitez dismissed this remark, saying: "Do you know who Sam Allardyce is? Do you know how many trophies he has won? Well that's my answer. It is what happens when someone has a book to sell. His opinion does not have a lot of value."

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Bolton, UNITED KINGDOM:  Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce (R) and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez (L) give their players instructions during their Eng
Image: Benitez (left) and Allardyce while in charge of Liverpool and Bolton respectively

Benitez inherited a squad that includes world-record signing Bale when he took over at Real Madrid in the summer but said he was aware of the Welshman's prodigious talent long before.

"Back in 2006 I went to see Bolton-Southampton," he added. "We transferred a player to Southampton but they wouldn't give us Bale.

"Then when we tried to buy him, we couldn't. I've known for a long time he was a great player."

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 12: Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Real Madrid CF is congratulated by his teammate Gareth Bale (L) after scoring his team's sixth go
Image: Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid

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