News of the World pays out to Rafa Benitez

Liverpool football club manager Rafa Benitez has reached a five-figure libel settlement with the News of the World after it reported that he blamed his bosses for the club’s poor season last year.

He claimed that a story from 10 February headed: “It’s your fault – Benitez in new blast at owners” was defamatory, and demanded unlimited damages.

He said the story meant he blamed the club’s owners for ruining his team’s title hopes and excused himself any responsibility for the team’s poor performance by cynically blaming the owners for destabilising the club.

Benitez sought aggravated damages, saying that News of the World journalist Rob Beasley did not write his story based on an interview with him, but instead based it on an interview published in the Spanish El Mundo.

He also complained that the News of the World did not ask him to comment.

The paper has now admitted the original El Mundo article was translated inaccurately and said: “We accept that he neither blamed nor was disloyal to the owners and apologise to him for suggesting otherwise.”

The newspaper has made a five-figure payment to a Merseyside school for children with special needs at the request of Benitez.

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