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Despite Recent Ties to Liverpool, Pako Ayestaran Not Likely to Return

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He was there when Liverpool won its fifth European Cup, but former assistant Pako Ayestaran is unlikely to return to the club to take on an assistant role now that he has his own club to manage.

Bask in the side of Pako's face. Bask in it.
Bask in the side of Pako's face. Bask in it.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Liverpool have a handful of openings on their coaching staff, and while the big job is still occupied by one Brendan Rodgers, the club will be looking to fill a couple of roles reporting up to the manager. Chief amongst them is the assistant manager role recently vacated by Colin Pascoe, and one of the names that has popped up as a potential replacement is none other than Pako Ayestaran.

Fans will remember Ayestaran from his tenure as assistant manager at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez, whom he'd performed the same role for at both Valencia and Tenerife prior to the duo's arrival on Merseyside. Ayestaran parted ways with Liverpool in 2007 after a series of disputes that meant he was no longer "a happy bunny" at the club, and he subsequently became assistant manager at Benfica. He is currently serving as manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C., where he won the club its first ever treble in his first season.

Liverpool fans love their history and the Rafa Benitez era still casts a long shadow over each subsequent season since Rafa's departure. News that Ayestaran could possibly return to work with Rodgers was met positively in most places, but the Liverpool Echo believe the Spaniard is only interested in non-assistant managerial roles.

"Managing in England? This is one of the dreams," Ayestaran confirmed in an interview two months ago. "I think whoever has managed or coached in England will tell you it’s one of the best places to work. It’s the respect you get for your work and how professional everything is.”

"I have so many unbelievable memories from my time at Liverpool. That was probably the best part of my life. That feeling of being part of the Liverpool family and being loved by the supporters. The respect everyone shows you in England but especially at Liverpool for the work you do, that’s impossible to feel anywhere else."

Given the age of the interview, it's possible Pako's position has changed — not least of all because there weren't any coaching positions open at the club in April — but it's rare for a currently employed manager to give up his post simply to be an assistant at a former club, no matter how much he loves it. Memory runs deep, and so can feelings, but sometimes it takes just a bit more to create the right environment for such a return.