Real should let Benitez and Ronaldo go, says Neil Humphreys
Benitez shouldn't be at Real, Ronaldo looks like he doesn't want to be there
REAL MADRID 0
(Luis Suarez 11, 74, Neymar 39, Andres Iniesta 53)
As Rafael Benitez hopelessly scribbled in his notepad when Barcelona's four goals went in, he turned into Emperor Nero.
He fiddled as Rome burnt. He watched as his empire crumbled.
Benitez never came across as the right man for the Real Madrid job. The El Clasico humiliation showed why he's the wrong man.
Sacking him now almost puts a wounded animal out of his misery, alleviating the pain as he drifts away to memories of silvery nights in Istanbul where he ruled with the Reds, rather than went down with the Whites.
The Madristas waved the white hankies throughout, a Spanish act of both surrender and anarchy. They are ready to storm the gates of the Bernabeu.
And this time, they're taking no prisoners.
Benitez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Florentino Perez all suffered the whistles and the white flags. Ronaldo was booed at the Bernabeu. Their race is run at Real Madrid.
Perez, the club's masterful manipulator and president, will probably be the last to leave, but the irate Madristas will figure two out of three ain't bad.
Clasico defeats come and go, but this wasn't just a loss, this defined a legacy.
Benitez's ineptitude proved infectious, as it did in the previous defeat in Sevilla.
He admitted that he may have picked the wrong 11 in the Clasico yesterday morning (Singapore time), but his admission only hinted at the extent of the incompetence.
He played the wrong players in the wrong formation to face his rivals and stubbornly persevered with the wrong philosophy for his club.
Benitez could have matched Barcelona's 4-3-3 and backed his men to go toe to toe in a battle of creative dynamos. But he sent them out in handcuffs. He blinked before kick-off and opted for a defensive approach.
The first white flag in the Bernabeu was waved in the dugout.
A nominal 4-2-3-1 soon morphed into a surreal 4-2-4, sacrificing Toni Kroos and Luka Modric's attacking traits and straitjacketing them to the centre circle.
Their manager turned them into morsels of meat, a token feeding exercise for Barca's relentless wolves. Ivan Rakitic, the peerless Sergio Busquets and the ageless Andres Iniesta ripped the pair to shreds.
The only Real player suitably equipped for the role, Casemiro, was inexplicably left on the bench. Busquets couldn't believe his luck.
In dropping Casemiro, Benitez clearly sought to appease the Madristas who crave a more adventurous template, but lacked the conviction to see the bold strategy through.
So he threw in a couple of brainy artists to play brawny artisans with calamitous results.
And when the time came to make a radical change, he sent on Isco for James Rodriguez, a decision that was howled down from the terraces. The Colombian was by far the most productive member of an otherwise static front four.
The bizarre substitution raised the distasteful question once more. Is Benitez pandering to matters on the pitch or presidential decisions in the boardroom?
Neither Ronaldo nor Gareth Bale had earned the right to see the Clasico through.
Both were ineffective. That was obvious. But Ronaldo's apparent indifference was extraordinary.
Bale at least huffed and puffed, but Ronaldo pouted. He looked to the heavens. He rolled his eyes. He played to the cameras rather than Barcelona's back four.
Of late, he appears more concerned with his documentary than domestic matters in Madrid.
Manchester United want him. So do PSG. For the good of Real's game, it might be time to sever the ties that bind him to the Madrid boardroom.
Clearly, Benitez cannot drop him, any more than he can Bale. As long as they keep Perez on side, the Galacticos retain dugout immunity.
That unhealthy relationship is now hurting rather than helping. A half-fit Lionel Messi contributed more in a half-hour cameo than Ronaldo and Bale combined.
It's highly unlikely that the world's most expensive player will be written off the balance sheet just yet, but the club is no longer big enough to accommodate two stuttering superstars.
Rodriguez is waiting in the wings. At 24, patience is never a virtue.
But the Colombian is struggling to win over a manager programmed to err on the side of caution.
Mercurial wingers have long troubled Benitez. He has three on the books and keeps dropping the wrong one, presumably because he's under pressure to pick the other two.
He may run from boardroom politicking, but he cannot hide from the worst Madrid showing in recent memory.
The negative formation, defensive caution and tactical blunders did not belong at the Bernabeu.
And Benitez, a decent man lost in an indecent situation, has probably confirmed to his president that he does not belong at Real Madrid.
Today, we have to ask the real Madrid fans for forgiveness for our poor performance. We didn’t play to the standards of this crest. These are things that can happen. hopefully, we can put this behind us.
— Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos
The fans know that you can fool a lot of people a lot of the time and some people all of the time, but you can’t fool everyone all of the time.
— Spanish newspaper AS hitting out at Real president Florentino Perez
- Real Sociedad 2 Sevilla 0
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Benitez: It hurts us a lot
BENITEZ: Believes he will be given a chance to turn things around. PHOTO: AFP
Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez says he is not worried of the sack after his team's 4-0 mauling by Barcelona yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The home supporters called for club president Florentino Perez's resignation towards the end of the game, but it is Benitez who is most likely to be in the firing line.
However, he believes he will be given the chance to turn things around, starting with Thursday morning's (Singapore time) Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.
"I insist that we haven't played well and the only thing that we can do now is recover as quickly as possible for the next game," he said.
"Thinking about La Liga, there is still a long way to go and we need to do things as we were doing them when we were undefeated."
Real vice-captain Marcelo gave Benitez a vote of confidence. He insisted his team's often ego-driven dressing room remains fully behind Benitez.
"We have full confidence in him and him with us," said the Brazilian.
"We are at the beginning of the project, we have confidence and there are still plenty of games left to play."
It's Real's second successive league defeat, this humiliation following the 3-2 reverse to Sevilla a fortnight ago.
Said Benitez: "We are all to blame and now we need to unite and work hard.
"Losing like this and against rivals like Barcelona hurts us a lot. We just have to unite and work hard to get three points from our next game, so we can stay in the fight for the title.
"We did start how we wanted to. Our aim was to attack, put pressure on them and win the ball back high up the pitch.
"We did it on occasions but, at other moments, we couldn't and we were made to pay. We picked a team of top-quality and experienced players, but it did not go well.
"When I pick a team, I try to manage the squad I have in the best way I can and the team I put out was capable of a lot more quality.
"We are all responsible, but now we have to recover from this and try and give the fans something to celebrate, something we weren't able to do today." - Wire Services.