He told the News of the World: "When I was on the touchline all I could hear was Benitez giving me directions.
"At times I'd think 'why don't you just put the batteries in and turn me into a robot'."
But he is his own man again in Zaragoza, living in a plush apartment block in the centre of town and picking up Spanish tit-bits from his new team-mates. He loves the laidback lifestyle after three years of listening to Benitez barking orders.
"Sometimes I just wanted to play my natural game, but there were so many instructions: how to go forward, how to defend.
"He has been through so many players, so many strikers, so many midfielders that he takes the best attributes out of them.
"With Fernando Torres he backed him, told him to score goals and that is exactly what Fernando has done. With his wingers he wants them to do something different. 'Do this, do that, don't cross there'.
"He would tell me to go to the byline and beat a man, but sometimes you don't have to. I prefer to take the politics out of the game."