We can be the Real deal

RAFA BENITEZ has urged Liverpool’s new owners to follow the example of Real Madrid to make the club one of the most profitable and successful in the world.

The Anfield boss says he was greatly encouraged by his meeting with American duo George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

A range of topics were discussed, with Benitez expecting sweeping changes to the structure and marketing of the club to compete with European giants like Manchester United and Real.

“It was a very nice meeting I enjoyed before training yesterday,” said Benitez.

“We spoke a lot about the future of the club, and by the end I was very happy with what the people said. I was convinced they want the best for the club.

“We spoke about bringing through young players for the future from The Academy, and how we can sign players for the present.

“They have a clear idea what we can achieve. It was not a meeting where we discussed how much we will spend on transfer or where we were promised £100m. To be a successful club, it is not just about spending a lot of money on new players.

“They are successful businessman and they realise the real business of a football club is the business of the first team. We need a strong first team to make the stadium successful and for all other areas of the club to perform well.

“They recognised they need to change a lot of things. There are some aspects of Liverpool which must also remain the same, but it’s clear where we can improve. This is a club which has a great history, but also has a great potential.

“Liverpool is a club which can improve and grow, by keeping the ideas which have made us strong, and making improvements where they are needed.

“For example, how many club shop do we have around the world? We should be doing more in areas such as Asia, or even Spain where we are very popular.

“There is a big difference between the commercial side of a club like Liverpool or Real Madrid. The people in Madrid are able not only to sell shirts around the world, but the name of Real Madrid has made a lot of money over the years. Maybe Liverpool can not be as big as Real Madrid off the pitch, but they can learn from what clubs like this have done and become one of the biggest club in the world off the pitch as well as on it.”

Benitez has also paid tribute to departing chairman David Moores.

“I want to say thank you to David Moores,” he said. “Thank you for the support you have given me since I came to Liverpool. Thank you for bringing me to Liverpool, and thank you for everything you have done for the club.

“It was not an easy decision for him to sell Liverpool, but he has shown he is a good person and a nice person. I’m happy he still has a role to play in the future and hope we can share more success together in the future.”

Copyright - Liverpool Echo 

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