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'I learned so much from him': Salomon Rondon hails Spurs-linked manager

Reported Tottenham Hotspur target Rafael Benitez has been praised by Salomon Rondon, who says the Spaniard has been “very important” in his career.

Spurs are currently on the lookout for Jose Mourinho’s successor after the Portuguese was sacked by Daniel Levy in April.

Benitez is currently unattached to a club, having left Dalian Professional earlier this year.

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The Evening Standard reported last month that the 61-year-old “would consider an approach” from Spurs.

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Rondon worked with Benitez during the 2018-19 season at Newcastle, a fruitful campaign for the Venezuela international, who scored 12 goals.

The pair then linked up again at Dalian Professional, before Benitez’s departure in January, and Rondon left for a loan spell at CSKA Moscow soon after.

The 31-year-old, Venezuela’s record all-time goalscorer with 31 strikes, told Sky Sports just how good Benitez is as a coach.

“All of a sudden, Rafa drew some goalposts,” said Rondon.

“He said to me, ‘What position do you play?’ and I replied, ‘Forward’, to which he said, ‘And forwards score goals, don’t they?’

“He then went on to ask me about where I would place the ball in the goal and why. He really made me think about how I score goals.

“That is something that will stay with me forever.

“We keep in touch,” he says. “He has been very important in my career and helped me to understand football in a different way.

“Thanks to the way that he is able to connect with his players, I learned so much from him. I could talk to him about lots of different things.

“Every training session, every match, taught me lessons I will never forget.”

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Benitez is a coach of the highest calibre with one of the best CVs in the business.

He has managed at Real Madrid and winning trophies at Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli and Newcastle United.

Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said several years ago – as quoted by Sportsmole – that he is “one of the best managers in the world”.

And considering Spurs wouldn’t have to pay compensation for him either, he certainly looks like a good shout for the hotseat.

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