Benitez: Just Another Great Coach

Carlo Ancelotti left Real Madrid last week after failing to follow up the successes of last season, when Real Madrid won the Champions League. In 2015, Los Merengues failed to lift a single trophy as they came second in La Liga, were knocked-out of the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. Real Madrid already have their new manager lined-up, Napoli’s Rafael Benitez.


Benitez has already confirmed that he will leave Napoli after failure to qualify to the Champions League. Real Madrid vice-president Eduardo Fernandez de Blas seems to be relaxed with the choices of the club claiming that the 30 best players in the world will be at the disposal of the best coach in the world next season. The question is how long will it take Madrid to realize that Benitez is not the best, just like every single manager they had?

Benitez was born in Madrid and although he spent most of his career between England and Italy, he has La Liga experience and has won it twice with Valencia. He always wished to manage Los Blancos, calling the club his “sweetheart” while he was at Chelsea in 2013. Real Madrid president Perez is convinced that under the new manager the club will be able to satisfy the fans and members.

For now, Benitez is the perfect replacement for Ancelotti because he’s the type of manager who adapts to his team and makes the best out of his resources. In addition, Rafa nows how to rotate big squads and he won’t have a problem with that at Real Madrid especially with the squad depth they have. In 2007-08 his Liverpool side scored a total of 119 goals, more than any other club in England at that time. Imagine with a club like Madrid how many they can score. There is no doubt that he will be transforming the team into a better one but competition from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid is stiff and he needs to perform starting from match day one.

Rafa was full of emotions as his eyes were full of tears when he was introduced to the press. The manager said a three year contract even if most of the club’s managers leave before completing three years (Jose Mourinho was an exception. Ahead of him are trips to China and Australia, there, Benitez needs to concentrate on restructuring the team around Cristiano Ronaldo. He also has to deal with Iker Casillas who might be replaced by David De Gea. He needs to make an immediate decision regarding his captain, whether he will rely on him or not. In the defense, he has little to worry about, the signing of Danilo will push Arbeloa out or make him a fringe player but his biggest problems are finding a suitable midfielder to play alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. The signing should be a major one, in line with Real Madrid’s aspirations of signing ‘Galacticos’ every season. Up front, Gareth Bale needs to refind his form. It’s Rafa’s priority to maximize the potential of the Welshman, selling him should not be an option. Finally, he needs to sign a number nine, like Sergio Aguero or Edinson Cavani.

There is little doubt that Benitez will not be a success in Madrid, in fact most of his predecessors were good and deserved to stay longer than the time they were given. Real Madrid’s board needs to understand that sacking a manager every season or two is not the solution. Carlo Ancelotti found success at Milan, but it doesn’t mean that all his years at Milan were trophy-laden. For Real Madrid to achieve consistency in their results they need to have consistency on the bench. No matter which coach they opt for, they need to show patience and trust before taking hasty decisions that could cost them millions of euros.


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