Rafa Benitez is destined for failure at Real Madrid
Just this past week, Carlo Ancelotti was relieved of his job as Real Madrid manager despite winning four trophies in two years including the La Decima. We all knew it was likely to happen given the expectations of President Fiorentino Perez … Continue reading
Just this past week, Carlo Ancelotti was relieved of his job as Real Madrid manager despite winning four trophies in two years including the La Decima.
We all knew it was likely to happen given the expectations of President Fiorentino Perez and the board that the club needs to win major silverware every season. However, what has come as a surprise to many is the name that has come out top of the favorites list to replace Ancelotti at the helm – Rafa Benitez.
The Spaniard announced that he will be leaving Italian side Napoli after the expiration of his contract this summer stating that he wanted to “move closer to his family”.
He is now almost certain to take the reins at the club he began his managerial career at in the 1990′s after vice president Eduardo Fernandez de Blas inadvertently revealed the club’s intention to hire Benitez with an announcement likely to happen this week.
Which brings me to ask, why in the world would Madrid sack Ancelotti for Benitez?
This man hasn’t done anything overly significant since 2005 when he won the UEFA Champions League for Liverpool. Yes, he won the Europa League with Chelsea, Supercoppa Italiana with Inter and the FA Cup with Liverpool since 2005. But really? Is that worthy of putting him into one of the two toughest soccer jobs in the world.
I’m sure that’s not what attracted Perez to put him down as next manager for Madrid.
Compared to the Los Blancos’ last two managers Jose Mourinho and the aforementioned Ancelotti who came to Madrid off the back of successful campaigns at Internazionale and Paris Saint Germain respectively, you’d find that Benitez in contrast has won absolutely nothing this year and couldn’t even qualify his side for the UEFA Champions League after losing 4-2 at home to Lazio on Sunday.
So what really is special about this man whose tenure began Inter’s demise and also was a failure at Liverpool in domestic competitions?
Even at Napoli, where they won an Italian Cup and Super Cup in his first year, he hasn’t improved on that at all. Instead, He’s taken them from second to fifth in the league after spending upwards of £100m.
Perez has said he prefers someone who speaks Spanish but speaking the local language cannot be the ultimate requirement can it?
Manuel Pellegrini spoke Spanish but he was still sacked despite leading Madrid to a record points total in the league (with admittedly no trophies to speak of).
On strictly football terms, it’s hard to make out anything Benitez does better than Ancelotti.
He’s not on the same level with the Italian and I don’t think he’s good enough to stop Barcelona from dominating again next season.
He has also fallen out with a couple of his own players in the past: Xabi Alonso, Albert Riera, Ryan Babel and Marco Materazzi to name a few.
The most recent example is John Terry, who he believed could not handle a full 90 minutes of action every week.
Meanwhile, Terry has gone on to play almost every league game for the past two season’s under Mourinho and every minute of their title winning campaign this year.
“One person said I couldn’t play twice in a week. He knows who he is. I’m still here, still fighting,” Terry said on Sky television after the Blues sealed the title at home to Crystal Palace.
Who knows what might happen if Benitez and Cristiano Ronaldo do not get along well.
Benitez isn’t a poor coach at all, having won two La liga titles before at Valencia in 2001-02 and 2003-04, which are impressive achievements but he hasn’t won a league title since then and when you consider his recent adventures, he shouldn’t be getting a job at a club of Real Madrid’s caliber.
If Perez and co are going to be satisfied with winning the odd Spanish Cup or Super Cup trophy then Benitez could turn out to be a great appointment.
Otherwise, we may be speaking about another managerial sacking at the Santiago Bernabeu around this time next year.