Following on from the disastrous weekend home defeat to Barcelona, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez called a press conference on Monday the 23rd at the Bernabeu and spoke in depth regarding the club situation. The main points are summed up below.
First, and most importantly, he gave his, and the board's full support to Rafa Benítez:
"We have had a board meeting and analysed the sporting situation at Real Madrid,. Rafa has all our support and all our confidence....He has the ability and has only just started here. Let him keep working and the victories will come"
Perez weighed in regarding the player mutiny that has been circulating in the press recently, denying any rift, particularly between Cristiano and Benítez:
"Cristiano has never said anything like ‘with this coach we won’t win anything.’ No one has said anything against him. Ronaldo is a good guy; he’s never said anything. All this stuff people say is just to destabilise us."
He also quelled speculation the he would be stepping down, or even holding an election in the near future:
"What I can tell you right now is that we did not discuss the possibility of holding new elections for even one minute"
Perez also addressed the issue of many fans speculating that he personally chose our starting line ups on occasions:
"Since I arrived in 2000 none of the coaches have ever said that I have suggested anything to them. They have always had full autonomy"
It's interesting to note previous Madrid manager Ancelotti also spoke this weekend to support this point, albeit indirectly, with Carletto having been quoted as saying:
"Even in Madrid I was accused of picking the team according to the president's desires. Benetiz has his own ideas and he puts these into action on the field"
While Pérez has said all the "right" words for the media during this conference, and confirmed Rafa is safe for the time being, no doubt it is not ideal for the club's image for the president to have to publicly deny locker room relationship breakdowns nor have to back his manager after just two official defeats, less than half way into the season.
Speculation around Benítez's job safety will no doubt rear it's ugly head in the following days if results, and performances, don't rapidly and sharply improve, though it will remain very unlikely we will see a new coach in the most difficult hot seat in club football any time before January.