Jerzy Dudek will forever be regarded as a Liverpool hero – largely for what he did on one famous evening…
The Pole made some outrageous saves towards the end of the Champions League Final in 2005 and then helped us win the penalty shootout, confirming his legendary status in the process.
But Dudek was not in the long-term plans of Rafa Benitez, the manager at the time, who had plans to bring in Pepe Reina, despite what happened in Istanbul.
And Dudek was not impressed with how the Spaniard dealt with him at the time.
“I told Rafa that the World Cup was on the horizon and I needed to be playing football. Köln were interested, but a few days before the window closed, they called and said, ‘Why is Rafa not even talking to us?’ I was surprised – I thought everything had been agreed,” he told FourFourTwo.
“The next day, I stormed up to him after training. He said, ‘They only offered a loan deal, and you’re too important for us. They want to give us £800,000, but what if Reina gets an injury? I can’t put £800,000 in a suitcase and put it between the goalposts.’
“Then I had this crazy thought – ‘I think I’ll just punch him in the face’. This evil whisper in my head was telling me that if I hit Rafa, they’d let me go to Köln.”
Benitez was a famously cold character in terms of his man-management, which was in contrast to his warm relationship with fans.
In reality, getting in Reina was the correct decision. He was phenomenal for many years at Anfield, and although Dudek was a hero that night v AC Milan, his best days were past him.
Still, we’re glad he didn’t punch Benitez, as he considered – it might have left him in an even more precarious position!