Kuyt keen for Europa League final reunion with Benitez

The Fenerbahce man was brought to the Premier League in 2006 while the Spaniard was in charge of Liverpool and the coach remains one of the forward’s chief career influences

Fenerbahce forward Dirk Kuyt is hopeful of reuniting with former manager Rafa Benitez in the Europa League final.

The Dutchman, formerly of Liverpool, could meet the Spaniard’s Chelsea in Amsterdam on May 15 should both teams progress past Benfica and Basel respectively.

Benitez brought Kuyt to the Premier League in 2006 on the back of four consecutive seasons of scoring over 20 goals for Feyenoord and he remains one of the 32-year-old’s biggest influences in football.

“It would be very special to face Rafa in the final,” Kuyt told The Daily Mirror.

“He signed me for Liverpool and has been a very big influence on my career. I will always be grateful to him for giving me the chance at Anfield.

“He means a lot to me. He is one of the best managers I have ever worked with and clearly one of the best in Europe. The things he wrote about me when he heard I was leaving Liverpool were very special and important to me.

“I will never forget that. I owe him a great deal but I would still love to beat him if we both make it to the final. I know from my experience with Liverpool that anything is possible.

“We’ve got a huge game in Benfica and it’s hard to look beyond that but, like I say, if it did turn out that way it would be special.”

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