Florentino Perez has taken the tough decision of dismissing Rafa Benitez and signing Zinedine Zidane as the new Real Madrid manager. This measure has been celebrated by a big section of the fans. Yet, others believe that firing the coach is not the solution to Los Blancos problems.
It is certainly unfair to blame Benitez for everything that is happening at the club. Perhaps he could have chosen a more attacking style of play or chosen different players for the starting line-up. But he is not to responsible for the poor planning of the squad, or for the club not knowing that Denis Cheryshev was not allowed to play in the Copa del Rey.
With Real Madrid sitting third in the league and eliminated from the cup, firing the manager seems like the easiest solution, but perhaps this decision is going to cause more harm than benefit the club. Here are a few reasons why Real Madrid shouldn’t have sacked Benitez:
- The situation is not disastrous. Los Blancos have only lost three matches in all competitions in the first half of the season. At this point last year, Barcelona had lost four, and they ended up conquering all titles but the Spanish Supercup. Real have been almost perfect in the Champions League, earning five wins and one draw. Yes, they were humiliated by Barca in El Clasico, but when dismissing a manager you have to look at the whole picture.
- Benitez is not to blame for the players attitude. It wasn’t Benitez’s fault that Kovacic childishly got himself sent off against Valencia, and it wasn’t his fault that Valencia equalized 30 seconds after Gareth Bale had scored what had seemed like the winning goal. Players have consistently shown that they lose concentration when they believe the victory is near, or when they face a rival that they see as easy to beat. Most of them lack hunger and spirit of sacrifice. Only the youngsters seem to do their utmost in every game.
- Adapting to a new manager will not be easy. It takes a period of adaptation to learn the methods and ideas of a new coach. When these things happen in the summer, at least the players have a few weeks of pre-season to get used to it. Zidane will have to improvise, and that is pretty dangerous. Luckily for him, Real’s next five rivals are some of the easiest he could have got, which gives him one presumably quiet month before facing tougher teams.
- Being patient usually pays back. Barcelona chose not to dismiss Luis Enrique last year when they lost against Real Sociedad, and the reward they got was exceptional. The same happened in Frank Rijkaard’s first year, when he had an awful first half of the season. The team’s improvement in the second half was not enough to conquer any titles, but they started a winning era that has lasted until today. Real Madrid have never been patient. In the last two years and a half, the team has had four different managers, certainly some of the best in the world, but none of them seem to have pleased Florentino Perez.
- The problem is not the manager. Perez is constantly claiming Real Madrid are always seeking excellence, but he is wrong in the way he is seeking it. Spending hundreds of millions in signing world-class stars without a clear criteria is not the best strategy. Los Blancos need to have a solid project, led by a sports director with a broad experience in football, and not by the owner of a construction company.
Having said all this, the decision is taken and Zidane is now our manager. We need to support him the way we all should have supported Benitez, because that is the best for the club. We need to have patience and let him do his job, so do not crucify him if he loses next weekend against Deportivo.