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Rafael Benitez had waited a long time to manage Real Madrid against Barcelona. Yet, after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at home, the reaction on Sunday suggests his first experience may also have been his last.
Benitez on borrowed time after Clasico thrashing
11/22/2015
 

Rafael Benitez had waited a long time to manage Real Madrid against Barcelona. Yet, after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at home, the reaction on Sunday suggests his first experience may also have been his last.


Madrid sports daily Marca claimed a lack of confidence in the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager from the fans and players had only been confirmed by Saturday's thrashing by their bitter rivals.


"Now or in June. The sacking of Benitez only lacks a date because the decision has already been taken after the debacle suffered by Real Madrid against Barcelona in the Bernabeu," Marca published on Sunday.


Madrid were thoroughly outclassed from start to finish by a Barca side that even had the luxury of leaving four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi on the bench on his return from a two-month injury layoff.


To rub salt into Real's wounds, Barca boss Luis Enrique introduced the Argentine for the final half hour and he played a part in setting up the fourth for Luis Suarez.


By that point the Madrid fans were in open rebellion against their own side with plenty of white handkerchiefs - a symbol calling for the coach's sacking in Spain - on display.


Yet, there were also plenty of cries for club president Florentino Perez to resign.


Perez is six years into his second term as president after resigning after six years the first time round when his Galacticos project of signing the world's most marketable players was deemed to have failed.


Yet, history now seems to have repeated itself as Benitez went for star names against Barca rather than many of those who have performed better so far this season and paid the price.


"A thrashing for Florentinoism," ran the front page of Madrid's other sports daily AS.


Benitez tried to side-step questions over whether he had Perez's wishes in mind when choosing such an attacking line-up which flew in the face of his normally conservative nature.


"I try to manage the group I have in the best way possible. In this case the players have enough quality to have done better," he said.


"We all have to be responsible and look for union in the group to fix it."


Reconciling with players that never wanted him in the first place is Benitez's biggest challenge for however long he remains in charge.


Madrid's ego-fuelled dressing room is notoriously difficult to manage, but Benitez's predecessor Carlo Ancelotti had the players overwhelmingly on his side.


The Italian won the club's coveted 10th European Cup in his debut season and only missed out in the Champions League semi-finals and La Liga last season by the finest of margins.


His sacking in June provoked public uproar amongst the squad and a nervous press conference from Perez where he claimed he "didn't know" the reasons for dismissing Ancelotti did little to help ease the tension.


The reported reason for Perez's ire with Ancelotti was a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of city rivals Atletico Madrid in February that he couldn't let go.


After a similarly haunting experience in El Clasico, it is hard to see how Benitez can survive where Ancelotti didn't.

Source: afp/kieran canning
 
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