• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

What next for Rafael Benitez?

Benitez-Real-Madrid

Following the 2-2 draw against Valencia on Sunday 2nd January, Real Madrid parted ways with manager, Rafael Benitez, just seven months after being appointed to replace Carlo Ancelotti. But the big question is:  what next for the former Chelsea boss?  The future of the Spaniards looks uncertain. Despite his past record, it looks as if all the moves the former Liverpool boss will make from now on will be retrogressive. La Liga giants Barcelona and Barclays Premier League side Manchester United seems to the two biggest jobs out there for him to take, but looking at his seven months stay with Los Blancos and Red Devil’s arch-rivals on Merseyside; the certainty of making the big move seems impossible for now.

After a short ruin in Italy with Inter Milan and tenure of failure without much glory at Napoli, Serie A is not a likeable and credible destination for him to return to,  though the likes of  struggling sides like  Roma and Milan could seek his service to help get them back to winning forms.

 The 55-year-old Spaniard has managed, with varying fortunes, everything from small clubs, like Extremadura and Tenerife – promoting both to La Liga, to top teams, including Real Madrid and Chelsea. At this point after his disaster with Real Madrid and Inter Milan, which had won the treble under Jose Mourinho just prior to his arrival, it seems clear that his rotation style, where hard work is valued more than talent, would fit better with a middle-level side with eagerness to become top, than with a giant. His successes at Liverpool and Valencia are his career high points, so a return to either club in the short-term shouldn’t be ruled out.

Benitez-Real-Madrid

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez gave his support to the manager before Christmas following defeat to Villarreal, claiming he was the right man to turn around the fortunes of the club despite reports in Spain that the club was considering both Zidane and Jose Mourinho as options to replace him imminently.

But the draw against Valencia seems to have forced Real Madrid to make the drastic decision.

Benitez during his short stay qualified Los Blancos for the Champions League last 16 as group leaders and are just four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in the La Liga table. However, Benitez has failed to win against any of Spain’s bigger teams this season, drawing with Atletico Madrid and Valencia in the opening half of the campaign while losing to Sevilla, Villarreal and Barcelona.

 Before his sack, Benitez, furthermore, has been under scrutiny by fans and media since he took charge at the club due to his defensive approach to the game. Real eliminated from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player and according to reports Benitez had fallen out with a number of first-team stars.

Although Benitez is rated better in the Premier League than in his Spanish homeland, other likely options could be a move back to England where clubs are struggling with potential to grow. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that in the summer he was just steps away from taking a coaching role at West Ham before the Galacticos job came calling. The Spanish National team also appears at the bottom of the list of possible offer. Here, we take a look at possible destination for the ex-Chelsea manager.

Spain Coaching Job

Benitez has shown interest in managing Spain’s national team in the future and, with Vicente del Bosque ready set to quit after the Euro 2016, he could be among the top candidates for the role.The Spaniard is arguably one of the most successful indigenous managers in contention in terms of titles alongside Pep Guardiola, Unai Emery and Luis Enrique.

However, his recent failure at Real Madrid and especially his defensive style reputation doesn’t look to fit well with the Tiki-Taka style of play philosophy and his rotation policy might work against him. Also, neither does his relationship with the likes of Isco, Dani Carvajal or even Jese who are expected to be the future of the team.

Liverpool

Whatever happens this season everything indicates that Jurgen Klopp will remain as Liverpool manager next season. However, in football nothing is ruled out and the truth is that the German coach has a tough job ahead to show that he is the right man to lead the Merseysiders back to the elite where Benitez once took them, winning the Champions League in 2004-2005, the FA Cup in 2005-2006 and as well to Uefa Super Cup and the Community Shield. Furthermore, Benitez loves rainy Liverpool. He still lives in the city and his family have remained there during his recent tenures both at Napoli and Real Madrid.

Valencia

Gary Neville’s long-term future at Mestalla is uncertain. The Manchester United legend signed an interim contract as coach until the end of the season and his start to life in La Liga does not look too promising having won only one out of six games since replacing Nuno. So if Valencia owner Peter opts to change the manager once again in the summer, few options seem as good as a club legend like Benitez. The Spanish coach lost his Real Madrid tenure due to his side’s draw against Valencia on Sunday 3rd January, but the funny thing is that while Los Blancos fans whistled him, the Ches welcomed back Benitez to Mestalla with cheers and numerous supportive banners. After all, Benitez helped Valencia to reach back-to-back Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001 and led them to their first La Liga title in 31 years in 2002, repeating the league title in 2003-2004 and also conquering the UEFA Cup before moving to Liverpool.

Anthony Nlebem