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Reina: Rafa would call me every day about joining Liverpool

Pepe Reina says his move to Liverpool had everything to do with former manager Rafa Benitez.

Reina revealed in his new book, 'Pepe Reina: My Autobiography', which is being serialised on liverpoolfc.tv: "I had been aware of Liverpool's interest in me for some time before then, with the first contact probably being made as early as February that year. I share the same agent as Rafa Benitez, Manolo Garcia Quilon, and I became aware that Rafa was having a few problems with his goalkeepers and was not totally satisfied with them during his first season at Liverpool.

"I was having one of the best seasons of my career at Villarreal and Liverpool made an offer for me in the springtime. They met with my agent and Benitez, being the annoying - in a good way - manager that he is, rang me every single day to convince me to make the move. Every morning when I was on my way to training my phone would ring and before I even answered it I would know who it was.

"'Pepe, it is Rafa,' the daily conversation would begin. 'Things are the same as yesterday. I do not want to bother you because I know you need to focus on qualifying for the Champions League with Villarreal, but I just need to tell you that we are really keen to sign you and we are working very hard to make it happen.'

"I even ended up playing a part in the negotiations for my own transfer because Rafa was asking me to ask Villarreal if they could lower their asking price! He also asked me if I could get my agent to reduce my wage demands! It was an unusual situation but I just had to laugh about it. I was really grateful to Rafa because he wanted to take me to Liverpool so much. He gave me that opportunity, the chance of a lifetime. If I had to put up with a few phone calls and being asked to negotiate lower wages for myself then so be it. That's just Rafa.

"This wasn't the first time I had been aware of Rafa's interest in me. He first wanted to sign me when I was with Barcelona B. I was only 17 years old at the time and he was making a name for himself as manager of Tenerife. With a team that included Luis Garcia, they enjoyed a good season in 2000/01 and ended up finishing third in La Liga."

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Tribal Football Staff

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