After just seven months in charge and replace him with Zinedine Zidane for rest of season
- Rafa Benitez has been sacked by Real Madrid following Valencia draw
- Real Madrid are third in La Liga table behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona
- Benitez had been under growing pressure after a number of poor results
- Jose Mourinho had been linked with return to Real since Chelsea sacking
- Zinedine Zidane will take charge of first team affairs for rest of season
- Zidane: ‘This is the best club in the world and the best fanbase in the world’
- Benitez understood to have received £7.3million pay-off from Real Madrid
Rafa Benitez has been sacked by Real Madrid after just seven months in charge with club legend Zinedine Zidane announced as his replacement.
The decisive moment arrived when the Spanish giants called an emergency meeting after Madrid failed to beat Valencia on Sunday evening.
Club president Florentino Perez decided to swing the axe with the club sitting third in the table, two points behind rivals Barcelona, and four behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane (left) has been announced as the new Real Madrid manager following Rafa Benitez’s sacking
Real president Florentino Perez announced Benitez’s sacking at a press conference on Monday evening
Zidane (left) joined Perez at the press conference as he was unveiled as the new manager
Zidane is joined by his family on stage at the press conference after taking over as Real Madrid boss
Zinedine Zidane will step up from the B-team to take control of first team affairs until at least the end of the season.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday where he announced the club’s decision, Perez said: ‘Rafa Benitez is an absolute professional and a wonderful person. We have decided to nominate Zinedine Zidane as the new manager of Real Madrid.’
Addressing Zidane Perez said: ‘This is your club, this is your stadium. And you have all our support. From this moment, you are the trainer of Madrid.
‘I know that the word ‘impossible’ does not exist for you.’
Perez remains a huge fan of Jose Mourinho and the former Chelsea manager remains an option for the Spanish giants at the end of the season if the Zidane experiment fails.
Accepting the role, Zidane, who won La Liga and the Champions League in his time with Real as a player, said: ‘This is the best club in the world and the best fanbase in the world. I want to ensure that by the end of the season, the club will have a trophy.
Zidane is Real Madrid’s first ever French manager and their 23rd since the inception of the Champions League
Real Madrid drew 2-2 with Valencia on Sunday evening as they lost further ground at the top of La Liga
Benitez shows his frustration on the touchline during the disappointing draw with Valencia
BENITEZ HAS FAILED TO WIN EIGHT GAMES AS REAL MADRID MANAGER
Aug 23 – Sporting Gijon 0-0 Real Madrid
Sep 26 – Real Madrid 0-0 Malaga
Oct 04 – Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real Madrid
Oct 21 – Paris St Germain 0-0 Real Madrid
Nov 08 – Sevilla 3-2 Real Madrid
Nov 21 – Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona
Dec 13 – Villarreal 1-0 Real Madrid
Jan 03 – Valencia 2-2 Real Madrid
‘I will be working hard with all the players and I think that it will go well. Tomorrow is when the work starts. I will put all my heart into this club. Thank you everyone.’
As Zidane was ushered in Real Madrid were left counting the cost of their six-month Benitez experiment. The out-going coach’s agent Manuel García Quilón is understood to have negotiated a 7.3m pounds pay-off.
Benitez was unable to win any of Madrid’s big away games so far this season with Villarreal, Sevilla and Barcelona all beating them and Atletico Madrid, Valencia and PSG all taking a point.
Real Madrid have an open training session on Tuesday with thousands expected to flock to the club’s Valdebebas training ground to see the players put through their paces.
But it will be Zidane and not the former Liverpool coach in charge as Real Madrid begin another new era.
After Sunday’s draw with Valencia Benitez arrived in the press room at Mestalla wearing a gaunt look as he batted away question after question over his future.
‘I can only make sure that we work hard in every game,’ he said. ‘I thought we did that tonight and I’m pleased with the players.’
Jose Mourinho has been linked with a return to the club he coached for three years since his Chelsea sacking
Real Madrid Castilla boss Zidane will take care of first team affairs for at least the rest of the season
Cristiano Ronaldo and Co were ultimately left disappointed after twice being pegged back by Valencia
BENITEZ’S STRAINED RELATIONSHIP WITH CRISTIANO RONALDO…
As early as pre-season, tensions between Rafa Benitez and Real Madrid’s star forward Cristiano Ronaldo were already forming.
The Portugal international was picked up by microphones complaining about the Spaniard’s training methods during the pre-season preparations.
Benitez further risked alienating the current Ballon d’Or holder when he refused to name Ronaldo as the best player he had ever coached.
Asked if the draw would cost him his job, Benitez replied: ‘That’s only if we look at the result. This performance deserves more praise than criticism.
‘I can’t avoid people speculating [about my job]. But I can make sure that the side works the way it did today.’
‘We saw a great team with 10 players that stood up to be counted until the end, when we had a great chance to win.’
Club captain Sergio Ramos said he felt his boss still had credit in the bank going into the next round of matches but it is Real Madrid’s record against better opposition that has helped the case of those who want a change.
Pressure has been mounting on Benitez for several weeks with the club trailing local rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at the top of La Liga and Real Madrid supporters have been clamouring for change.
The club’s notoriously unforgiving fans let their feelings towards Benitez known once again last week – with the Spaniard booed ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Real Sociedad.
It’s not the first instance of booing aimed at Benitez this season, with the sound levels inside the stadium raised to extreme highs following the hefty defeat at home by Barca.
Benitez’s short reign at the Santiago Bernabeu has been fraught with difficulty with reports surfacing in the summer that Cristiano Ronaldo and other senior players were failing to buy into his methods.
The former Liverpool boss was also criticised early in his tenure for playing an overly defensive style of football.
Source: Daily Mail