Chris Tarrant: Welcome back to another episode of Who wants to buy some pampered millionaires? – the show where we ask fifteen questions and fifteen correct answers can win you a Sheikh’s ransom for the summer. I’m joined today by Rafael, 48, from Liverpool. So Rafael, how are you feeling so far?
Rafael: I am ready. I am very focused on this game.
CT: Great, well, you’ve already won £16m courtesy of our sponsors Tom and George — but they don’t want to give you that! Why don’t you have a look at the next question; it’s worth £32m:
Who is the Irish footballer who began his career at Wolves and has plied his trade at Coventry, Leeds, Tottenham and Inter Milan?
A. Tony Cascarino
B. Robbie Keane
C. Gareth Barry
D. Roy Keane
Rafael: I want Gareth Barry.
CT: Erm… You still have all your lifelines, Rafael. You don’t have to rush this. How sure are you?
Rafael: I am completely sure. But I suppose I must ask first — yes, I will use the phone.
CT: Phone a friend?
Rafael: No, I will phone Rick Parry.
CT: OK… [dials phone] Hello Rick? Hi it’s Chris Tarrant here – yes, that guy – listen, Rick, I’m with Rafael Benitez, and he’s doing really well so far, but he’d like a bit of help on this question for £32m…
RP: Robbie Keane.
CT: But you haven’t even heard the…
RP: And I don’t need to — it’s Robbie Keane. He can have Gareth Barry once he’s won the Premiership.
Rafael: I cannot believe this. [Rick Parry hangs up] He did no’ even say goodbye. He will soon. [laughs]
CT: What will it be then, Rafael?
Rafael: I will pick Robbie Keane. For now.
CT: Is that your final answer?
Rafael: Yes. For now.
CT: It’s the right answer — you’ve got £32m!
Rafael: Two Gareth Barrys.
CT: But they don’t want to give you that! Here’s the £64m question:
Your contract is nearing expiry, but you keep rejecting the new offers. Is this because:
A. You’re planning to quit, but not before putting a few hundred quid on it at the bookies
B. You’re hoping to secure the Real Madrid job… by beating Real Madrid
C. You’re planning to stay, but giving the tabloids a little something to write about
D. You’re planning to stay, and just really digging your heels in on this one
Rafael: I was a little bit surprised by this one, but I cannot answer this question at the moment. I am focused on training and coaching my team.
CT: Rafael, the question is worth £64m — there’s money ready for you if you can answer it.
Rafael: I prefer to talk about the game, to celebrate our victory against Real, and respect our players.
CT: I’m sorry Rafael, but if that is your final answer you’d leave here with nothing.
Rafael: I’m no’ thinking about a draw, I’m thinking about a win.
CT: You still have a lifeline, Rafael — you can ask the audience here in Liverpool.
Rafael: We have the best fans here, we can ask them.
CT: Ok, well audience, you know the rules, you can take out your keypads from in front of you, and cast your vote on the question… Your contract is nearing expiry, but you keep rejecting new offers — is it because of A, B, C or D… Just a few seconds left audience… And that’s your time. Let’s take a look at the results.
CT: Well, that’s very unusual — audience… can I… [CT looks up to see that the audience have unfurled a banner saying ‘Stay our gaffer Rafa’ covering the assembled crowd in their entirety] I see. That’s quite a strong statement Rafael isn’t it? Are you going to go with the audience?
Rafael: I do no’ like the terms of this question. You must send my lawyer this question with amended wording.
CT: We can allow you some time to deliberate, Rafael, but there is a limit…
Rafael: I am no’ ready to answer the question. I know Tom and George are at home watching. I can wait.
Mark is one of the founders of Sport without Spin, a website which tries to cut a path through tabloid speculation and the rent-a-quote words of sportsmen. This week they have been trying to work out where the Rafa quitting rumours originated, laughing at Julien Faubert’s bemusement that he isn’t in the Real Madrid match squad, and have descended into blind panic at the prospect that the 2011 Champions League final might be scheduled on the same day as the League Two play-off. There’s only 820 days left to sort it out!