Saturday 21 September 2019

'The chosen one' - Real Madrid president gives Rafa Benitez public backing as Ronaldo mulls exit

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez presents new coach Rafa Benitez last June.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez presents new coach Rafa Benitez last June.

Declan Whooley

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has given his full backing to under fire manager Rafa Benitez and urged their supporters to remain patient with their struggling side.

Perez called a news conference this evening after Saturday's humiliating 4-0 La Liga defeat at home to Barcelona in the 'Clasico' and says the club has full faith in Benitez to turn things around.

Real's drubbing at the hands of their arch rivals prompted angry fans to chant for Perez to step down.  He has been blamed for Real's woes due to a perception he interferes in team selection, while Benitez’s pragmatism has also come in for stinging criticism.

Speaking to the media this evening, Perez has rallied behind the former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager.

“We have had a board meeting and analysed the sporting situation at Real Madrid,” he said.

“Rafa has all our support and all our confidence and has all the ability and has only just started his job here.

“Let him keep working and he will achieve his objectives.

“We are convinced that we have a great squad that will give much happiness to a fanbase that deserves everything. Rafael Benitez is the chosen one to bring success to this squad that since January has struggled.

“Now more than ever he needs the support of all of our followers.”

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The construction magnate, in his second spell at the club, says he understands the fans frustrations.

"I understand the unhappiness and the anger of the fanbase with what happened on Saturday, but I ask them that they support the team.”

“Is there a campaign against me? I believe there is, you believe there is and so does everyone else here. We are offering our full support to our coach, who will be capable of turning this round.

“Since January this team has deteriorated, that much is obvious. We chose Rafa with the confidence he could turn it round because he works non-stop day and night.”

Meanwhile speculation still surrounds the future of star man Cristiano Ronaldo. The former Manchester United player whose relationship with Benitez appeared frayed beyond repair, reputedly told team-mates in the Bernabeu dressing-room: "Either he goes, or I go."

Ronaldo has made no secret of his distaste for the Spaniard's containing tactics and delivered the type of listless turn that suggested he would lean on Perez to issue the P45 forms there and then.

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