"It is difficult to find a player who has spent 10 years at one club, especially now with the way football has gone," said Benitez.
"And for him to do it in a top side is even more difficult. But Steven has the right mentality.
"Steven has improved with every year. He is always trying to learn, he has matured as a player and a person and tactically he has become more astute.
"He is trying to learn still, to do the right things on the pitch, and I believe he will continue to improve.
"He is an example to everyone. He always trains hard and is a good professional. He is always committed on the pitch, it is a kind of leadership that all captains should aspire to.
"In 10 years he will be a manager - probably at Liverpool. So if I stay for a lot longer, he can take over from me.
"Physically he is very strong, but he can play for five years now at the maximum level and then three or so more years helping the manager."