Florentino Perez is no doubt choking on his copos de maiz this bright Sunday November morning as he struggles to find any tasteful headline on the front pages of Madrid’s sports dailies, Marca and AS. Hoping to avoid the screaming headlines coming from Catalunya where Mundo Deportivo, La Grada, SPORT and L’Esportiu focus the numbers 0-4 all over the place. With supporting quotes from Barcelona manager Luis Enrique saying: "This victory tastes glorious because it is against our eternal rivals," said Enrique, who played for both sides. "It will be very difficult for us to better this performance."
Enough to put anyone in the Real Madrid camp off their breakfast following the teams shattering home defeat by four goals to nil at the Santiago Bernabeu. None more so than Rafael Benitez who may be undercover in the safety of Liverpool perhaps with his family following the fallout from El Clasico. The news no better from Merseyside where Juergen Klopp celebrates a 4-1 thrashing of Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad. The kind of news that will resurrect the questions as to why Perez couldn’t convince the German to come to Madrid.
Under normal circumstances Florentino has a plan when a manager is let go, fired or departs under mutual consent. On this occasion it didn’t seem to be the case and almost surreptitiously Benitez became the choice – and the only choice. Catching even the Spanish press off guard in July as there was so little pomp and ceremony. All strange given that the end of season under Carlo Ancelotti became a debacle his departure was heralded well in advance. Usually a signal that the new and better alternative is ready for action.
The complication appears to have been Juergen Klopp rigidly sticking to his plans for a sabbatical year – a plan that Fenway Sports Management seem to have easily broken – when the German joined Liverpool after Rodger was fired. Confirming in a way that somewhere along the line the Real Madrid President’s best laid plan was foiled.
Now post a humiliating defeat to Barca the options for Rafa Benitez and Florentino Perez seem limited. With only a quick written letter to Papa Noel able to save the manager from the sack at this moment in time. Given that the media were already on his case about the style of play and the defeat to Sevilla even before Saturday’s clash. The added discontent displayed by Cristiano Ronaldo these days fans the flames of another spectre for Perez also. Adding to the general malaise amongst the squad following quotes emanating from the social media conscious, Sergio Ramos.
With Gareth Bale struggling with injury – and still not flavour of the month at Madrid – he is looking more likely to return to the premier league next year. Despite the best protestations of his agent, Jonathan Barnett.
For Rafa the next few days will be Shankly-esque. Indeed pale in comparison to any of the worst days at Liverpool, or Napoli. Or indeed the battles he faced when he stepped in as interim manager at Chelsea. Prior to Mourinho’s return. A man whose name has also been quoted as a candidate to return to the club. As has Ancelotti and indeed Guus Hiddink. All of whom would only be short term replacements as the club seeks out their long term candidate.
In the short term the issue is whether Benitez can be rehabilitated as the current candidate. Or will the club expedite Zidane or Fernando Hierro to step in the breach,
Clearly Florentino now needs a plan.
It maybe one that does not include the former Real Madrid player - Rafael Benitez Maudes
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