"We have to win from day one. When I signed for Liverpool I was given three years of work to get a title - here we have to fight for trophies from the first game".
He had tears in his eyes, his voice cracked with emotion and at first he could barely get his words out.
He ended up giving the shortest opening address of any coach taking over at Real Madrid for the last 15 years.
But Rafa Benitez had come home.
The man who cut his teeth as a youth-team coach for Spanish giants Real 20 years ago had finally fulfilled a lifetime ambition by returning to the Bernabeu as the main man.
“It’s emotional to come home," he said. "I don’t know what to say... I want to make sure we win things and that the team plays well.”
In the subsequent press conference he admitted that while time was on his side during his time at Liverpool, he knew he had to hit the ground running with the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in his armoury.
Having signed a three-year deal days after leaving Italians Napoli, Benitez said: “I have the best squad in my career and here the demand is high. We have to win from day one.
"It is not the same as when I signed for Liverpool, I was given three years of work to get a title. They told me: ‘We have three competitions in which to try to win something.’ I won the Champions League in the first year.
"Real Madrid have to fight for trophies from the first game - it is the policy of the club.There will be a short adaptation process, but right from the first moment we have to be up there, battling for every competition.
“My approach is to enjoy a team and not to focus on individual aspects.”
Real are understood to be plotting a revamped attack for next season with superstar Ronaldo possibly playing as an out-and-out centre-forward and Bale either behind him in a free role - as he played at Tottenham before his world-record move in 2013 - or on the left wing.
Benitez added: “Where Cristiano or Bale will play? I prefer to say that to them, rather than expose my system. It is more important to explain my ideas to the players.”
The 55-year-old has been tasked with inspiring more out of Bale, with Real once again insistent that they will not sell the Welshman to Manchester United. Benitez clearly backs himself not only to reinvigorate former Spurs star Bale but to do so while also keeping Ronaldo onside.
“I’ve come across all kinds of personalities in all kinds of dressing rooms,” he said. “And I’ve dealt with those situations naturally.
“I like to exchange ideas with my players and if a player suggests one idea and it works, we will continue with it. If not, we’ll look for an alternative formula – whatever is beneficial to the team.”
He did however, dismiss suggestions that he is seen as a coach far too defensive for a team like Real.
He went on: “I am not defensive. Some people have claimed that my teams are defensive but my last team, Napoli, ended the season scoring 104 goals - a club record.
“A quality team should be attacking and here at Madrid, all of the players are great players.”
Earlier, Benitez had been lauded by Madrid president Florentino Perez who listed the trophies won by the man he's chosen to succeed Carlo Ancelotti.
They including his Champions League with Liverpool, his two Spanish titles and UEFA Cup with Valencia, and his Europa League with Chelsea.
Ancelotti’s record was even more impressive.
The Italian steered Real to their tenth European Cup success 13 months ago. But that did not save him this year, as they failed to defend that title - losing to Juventus in the semi-finals - while also being beaten into second in La Liga by arch-rivals Barcelona.
Suddenly, Ancelotti was out and Benitez is in.
The 55-year-old does have a blemish on his own career though.
He lasted just six months at Inter Milan in 2010 after Jose Mourinho had led the club to an unprecedented Treble, including the Champions League, before himself moving on to Real Madrid.
Benitez, Los Blancos’ eighth coach in ten years, will want to ensure his Bernabeu stay is far longer.