Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Why Real Madrid Sacked Rafa Benitez

It is no longer news that Real Madrid has sacked Rafa Benitez just seven months in charge, with the club sitting third in La Liga and four points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

A number of factors have contributed to the downfall of the former Liverpool and Inter Milan boss, from problems with players to Real's lack of style and lack of confidence from the fans.

Here are the major things that led to the sack of Rafa Benitez

The Clasico Humiliation
Barcelona's 4-0 humiliating of Real Madrid in the November Clasico was one of the early signs that Benitez would not be staying as Real Madrid manager for long time. At the very least he would have been sacked at the end of the season. As it happens, other bad results have sealed his fate well before that.  After Barcelona won the treble last season, one of Benitez's jobs was to keep control of the situation and stop the Catalans from streaking ahead of Madrid. Instead, Los Blancos were embarrassed in their own home, with Madrid fans left clapping man of the match Andres Iniesta.  Benitez compromised his own usual defensive attitude in that game, playing a more attacking side, and was hung, drawn and quartered by Barcelona.

The Ronaldo Fall-Out
From Xabi Alonso to John Terry and Marco Materazzi, Rafa Benitez has history of falling out with important players at his previous clubs and he did the same at Real Madrid falling out with Ronaldo. The things he did was upset Cristiano Ronaldo by not stroking the Portuguese star's ego and saying he was the best player in the world. In fact, in the beginning, Rafa even refused to say he was the best player at Real Madrid. He later amended those two things but after getting off on the wrong foot with Ronaldo, the relationship was never repaired. Rafa upset the Portuguese star further by trying to give Gareth Bale a central role in the team. Many of the players fell out with the coach at one time or another, including Isco and James Rodriguez recently.

The Copa Del Rey Disqualification
Though this might not entirely be his fault but the blame landed at his door when he picked Denis Cheryshev, who was suspended for the Copa del Rey clash with Cadiz and as a result Los Blancos were later disqualified from the competition. Although nobody informed Benitez of the suspension, and some believe the player himself should have known, it was a further humiliation for the club and the club is President Perez and since he is not someone who likes shouldering the blame for things. So down it went, onto Benitez. 

The Blame Game
The manager looked like he was clutching at straws when he blamed the media for hatching a 'campaign' against Real Madrid, President Florentino Perez and himself.  It was reminiscent of his 'facts' rant about Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson while manager of Liverpool, and left the Spaniard pointing fingers without acknowledging the mistakes he made himself. Rafa has been in denial for much of the season, including after Gary Neville's Valencia dealt the fatal blow on Sunday night, claiming Real Madrid had played a 'great' game and they should be praised, not criticised, despite letting the lead slip twice.

The Lack Of Style
It is well known that Benitez is a relatively dour coach and It is also well known that Real Madrid like to win, and win with style and this never seemed like a match made in heaven, even if he called it his dream job.  Madrid got some good results earlier in the season, but they were mainly off the back of spectacular performances by Keylor Navas in goal and the occasional spark of life by the three forwards, Ronaldo, Bale and Karim Benzema. Benitez failed to impose his own methods on the team, while also curbing the team's natural capacity for goals and excitement at the same time.  For huge periods of matches Madrid lost control and concentration, exemplified by the spell before half-time against Valencia, when Neville's side equalised through a Dani Parejo penalty.  It wasn't Real Madrid, it wasn't Rafa Madrid, the team was lost somewhere in the grey area between the two.

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