Nigerian international Nwankwo Obiora has fond memories of his time playing under the Spaniard at Inter Milan.
Former Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez handed Obiora his first-team debut at Internazionale, and it is something the former Super Eagles star won’t forget.
Injuries stunted the development of the defensive midfielder forcing him to make just four appearances for the Serie A giants before departing for Parma in 2011.
Further spells at Padova, CFR Cluj, and Académica de Coimbra quickly followed before the Kaduna-born ace joined Boavista in 2018 after another disappointing time at Levadiakos.
One happy moment during this period for Obiora, though, was being a part of the late Stephen Keshi’s Super Eagles team that conquered Africa in 2013.
But the 28-year-old values more the lessons learned under Benitez in guiding Inter to triumphs in the Supercoppa Italiana and the FIFA Club World Cup, both in 2010.
“I have had lots of good managers over the years and good coaches too, but the manager who I hold very dear to my heart is Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan,” Obiora told the World Football Index.
“He was the one who took me from the youth team to the first team of Inter Milan, and he taught me many things and gave me lots of good advice in such a short period of time too.
“The things that he taught me are always in my head, and I have brought them with me throughout my career.
“Of all the big managers and good coaches I have encountered in my career, he has certainly played a key role in my development.”