The Madridistas are considering the manager major responsible for the humiliating defeat and demanding his resignation.
It’s safe to say that Saturday’s El Clásico couldn’t have gone worse for Real Madrid. The home fans were waving their infamous white hankies as early as half time, and the final 4-0 scoreline was seen as nothing short of a disaster in the Spanish capital.
The aftermath has been as ugly as you would expect after Real Madrid were taken apart by their greatest rivals in spectacular fashion.
Manager Benitez is, having seen his side slip to third in the table and six points off the top, looking increasingly unlikely to hold on to his job. President, Florentino Perez, is also under pressure, having sacked successful manager Carlo Ancelotti in the summer and replaced him with Benitez in what wasn’t exactly a popular appointment.
Aside from allowing a mesmerising Barcelona performance to unfold in the Bernabéu, Real Madrid’s biggest disappointment will be that their most important players simply didn’t turn up.
Ronaldo and Bale were both largely anonymous, while Benzema missed several good chances and looked very much like a player performing under the cloud of a man having off-the-field problems.In a recent interview, Gareth Bale predicted that there would be no surprises from Barcelona.
“They don’t tend to change the way they play for anyone”, he said. And he was right. But for all the predictability of the Catalan’s approach, there was little adaptation from Madrid, and a noticeable naivetyto their strategy.
It’s hard to say how much of the blame should be laid at the manager’s door for this. There is much speculation that with all of his superstars returned to fitness, Benitez was pressured, either directly by the president or subtly by the media and perhaps the players themselves, to play them all together. The solid but unspectacular Brazilian Casemiro was dropped allowing room forJames Rodríguez, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo – a quartet costing more than €350m in transfer fees – room in the starting lineup.
But unfortunately their inclusion lead to a loss of balance across the side, to the extent that they were operating with something closer to 4-2-4, with Modric and Kroos isolated in the middle against arguably the finest midfield club football has ever seen. Barcelona dictated the play with ease, as too often Ronaldo, Benzema, Rodriguez and Bale strolled around at the other end of the pitch, waiting to be released with the ball.
Over the next week or so Benitez’s fate will be discovered, but it will take more than a managerial change to solve the problems of ego which run throughout the Real Madrid squad. They only have to look to their Catalan rivals to see how matching individual brilliance with a strong team ethic can lead to success.