The 4-0 thumping of Real Madrid by Barcelona in the much anticipated Clasico came as no surprise, but a defeat by any margin would have searched for guilty parties in the squad and management. It is still not late to figure out what are the real reasons behind such a humiliating defeat. At Madrid, the head-coach normally takes the blames, but on this particular occasion, it is not that right.
However, the pressure was already piling upon head coach Rafa Benitez prior to the massive match after the 3-2 defeat to Sevilla before the international break. The humiliating loss to Catalans have now made it to two defeats in a row in the league and if the Spanish media are to be believed Benitez may be in to get the sack. But this will be only another strategy to hide the flaunt policies of the Real Madrid board.
The team as a collective unit failed to adopt the philosophy of the Madrid born coach and it is no secret that he is no more influential among the stars in the dressing room. No matter what, this is a scenario of players telling coach how they want to play.
And this was reflected in the starting line-up on Saturday’s Clasico. Casemiro and Isco were dropped to the bench to accommodate James Rodriguez and Benzema into the starting line-up. Both where making their returns from their respective injuries and hardly had any influence in the match.
The young Brazilian midfielder has made eight straight starts prior to the clash was unarguably the key element in breaking down opposition attacks as opposed to Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who are hardly defensive midfielders. Evidently this was not the starting line-up Rafa had in mind, but succumbed to pressure, he is forced to do so to please the players and the fans.
Benitez may not be the right man for the job considering he build teams on the basement of a strong defensive unit and this is not welcomed at Bernebeu. His last title was the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, prior to winning the La Liga with Valencia in 2004. Since then the titles has disappeared for Rafa, and much to the agreement with fans, Real made a big mistake in appointing him.
But to be more precise, the problems at Santiago Bernebeu runs deep. The sole person who must be held responsible for the recent crumbles at Real Madrid is none other than Florentino Perez. His focus was always on the marketing aspects rather than football.
With Perez at the helm, Madrid have no strategy to improve the squad or playing aesthetics. The players were brought to boost the financials via merchandising and shirt sales and global appeal. That is the same ‘Florentino Perez philosophy’ which crumbled towards the end of his last tenure with the club.
Carlo Ancelotti suffered a similar fate last season with the likes of Angel Di Maria and Xabi Alonso departing, two key players who played a key role in the La Decima winning campaign. As the man who calls the shots at the top, Perez then decided to sack the Italian boss, much to the demise of players and fans.
Rafa’s job is in danger after 16 games into the season. It is unlikely that they can catch up with Barcelona this season considering the fine form the team. With the kind of form Neymar and Suarez are in this season, they may not even need Messi, but certainly the Argentine will make the side more lethal.
But this is not achieved by buying the most expensive players in the world to boost shirt sales. This has constantly evolved with the strategic policy placed at the La Masia which helped the core players to stick together for seasons and become a formidable playing unit.
At Madrid, it is difficult to achieve this. With head-coaches changing once in every two years, it takes time for players to adjust with the playing style and philosophy. But the time, the squad adapt to the style and philosophy the coach may witness his key names depart to make space for new expensive signings.
Without splashing lot of money, Barcelona are way ahead of Real Madrid and are certain favorites to win the Spanish and Champions League this season. At the same time, Real Madrid fans may have to wait because the team hardly has any balance.
Real Madrid may still manage to thump the minnows in La Liga and Europe. Even a win against their city rivals Atletico Madrid is a hard ask. So with Benitez or no Benitez, Madrid are in a big mess and will be until unless someone with a real feel for football take over at the top of the historic club.