Monday, June 30, 2008


Rafa Benitez has spoken of his pride after Fernando Torres confounded his critics to fire Spain to their first major honour since 1964.

The Liverpool boss admits certain sections of the Spanish press were critical of the striker's performances in Euro 2008.

However, El Nino's winning goal against Germany on Sunday night has made him a national hero – and Benitez believes the strike will be talked about for decades to come.

He told "I am very proud, especially after he has been criticised from some journalists in Spain.

"Everyone remembers the Marcelino goal from 44 years ago, and the last final Spain were in was 24 years ago. Now people will talk about Torres in the same way."

Benitez watched the goal from the comfort of his sofa, from where he was in no doubt the best team won.

"Spain played well. For 10 minutes at the start of each half Germany were pressing, but after that Spain controlled the game," he said.

"The first goal changed the game. After that Metzelder pushed forward and Torres was left one versus one. Spain could play on the counter and that was important.

"They had three or four players in the middle with real quality and played good football."

Torres and Spanish counterparts Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina will now be given three weeks' rest before returning to Melwood ahead of the new campaign.