Monday, January 4, 2016

Rafa Benitez sacked: Live updates as Real Madrid axe boss after seven months in charge

Real problem: Benitez looks set for the axe after seeing Real Madrid slip to third in La Liga
Rafa Benitez has been sacked by Real Madrid - seven months after he took charge of the club.
The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss has lost three of his 18 La Liga games in charge, though Los Blancos were kicked out out of the Copa Del Rey for fielding an ineligible player .
Zinedine Zidane is current favourite to take over. Here are five other contenders.

KEY EVENTS SO FAR

Zidane to be Real Madrid boss: Twitter reacts

Any big breaking news from Real Madrid tends to bring the internet close to meltdown. Frankly, if Cristiano Ronaldo blows his nose hard enough, social media servers across the globe feel the strain.
That’s why Rafa Benitez’ sacking - a genuinely seismic story from the Bernabeu - has caused quite a stir.
Factor in the news that Zinedine Zidane - one of the greatest players of all time and a Los Blancos legend - is set to replace him, and no-one should be surprised to see Twitter wobbling under the weight of comedy messages.
It seems plenty of people have got plenty of thoughts about the big change at Real.

KEY EVENT

Who's next? Five contenders

Real Madrid are on the lookout for a new permanent manager, after Rafa Benitez was shown the door on Monday.
Los Blancos missed the chance to gain ground on La Liga favourites Barcelona over the weekend, who were held to a 0-0 draw in the Catalan derby with Espanyol.
Real were held to a 2-2 draw by Gary Neville’s Valencia at the Mestalla after being pegged back twice.
Club president Florentino Perez held a meeting at the Bernabeu on Monday afternoon to confirm that the former Liverpool manager’s time in the Spanish capital was up.
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Rafa Boo-nitez

It’s safe to say the fans didn’t exactly take to Benitez.
Here’s a video from last month’s win over Real Sociedad.
The manager’s name was read about before kick-off to a chorus of boos and whistles from the supporters in attendance in the Spanish capital.


Player power?


Press conference due this evening?

It looks as though we could get an official announcement in the next hour or so.

The final straw

Last night’s draw over Valencia was the last straw for president Perez, who decided to axe the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss this afternoon.
Yet in a rare moment of support this season, Benitez was warmly received by Valencia’s fans upon returning to the Mestalla Stadium as Real Madrid manager.
The Spaniard was taking his new team back to his former stomping ground looking for a win which would’ve taken them within two points of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
However, Real Madrid had to settle for a point as goals from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale were cancelled out by Daniel Parejo and Paco Alcacer.
While Benitez has struggled to win over the Bernabeu faithful since replacing Carlo Ancelotti as boss in the summer, Valencia’s supporters clearly still hold plenty of affection for him.

Who next?

Zinedine Zidane, coach of Real Madrid’s second team, Castilla, is ready to assume the hot seat.
The World Cup winning midfielder has long been earmarked for the top job at the Bernabeu and will be pressed into action should Perez make the big call and sack Rafa.
Key players in the Madrid dressing room have begun to turn against Benitez, and it could be the decisive factor in convincing the club’s board to do away with the Champions League-winning coach.
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Zinedine Zidane: Set to take charge

Rafa gone

Rafael Benitez has been sacked as manager of Real Madrid - seven months after he took charge.
The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss has endured a tough season at the Bernabeu since taking over in June, and while he only finds his side just four points off Barcelona at the top of La Liga he has had fallouts with key players and been criticised for a defensive style of football.
Benitez was also denied the chance for another piece of silverware, the Copa del Rey, after an administrative gaffe saw them expelled for fielding an ineligible player against Cadiz.
It leaves the Champions League as their most likely chance of glory this season, but club president Florentino Perez has opted for a change ahead of their round-of-16 tie with Roma next month.
Denis Doyle
In the dark: Benitez has been axed