Former Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez has talked to the two biggest radio stations in Spain, Cadena SER and Onda Cero, reviewing his brief tenure in the Spanish capital, which was cut short by the end of the first half of the season.
Benitez wanted to defend his work in Real Madrid and denied some reports that were published over the years.
“During my time in Real Madrid we weren’t allowed to win. We were first in the Champions League. Real Madrid won the Champions League title that year and we did our job. We were knocked out of the Copa del Rey because of an administrative error with Cheryshev. Then it looked as it was my fault because I wasn’t there anymore. Our team was way better than the other teams physically. When I left, we were just two points behind Barcelona with a game at hand. Two months later, that gap increased to 12 points,” said Benitez.
Benitez also tackled some of the rumors about his coaching method.
“One time I told Modric that for a short pass you don’t hit the ball with the outside of the boot so that the teammate receives the ball without spin, that’s just a comment in a training session, but people wanted to make a big deal out of it. And the only thing I told Cristiano Ronaldo about his free-kicks was that he studied the way he took them in Manchester United, we saw if we could make some adjustments but we forgot about it, that was my only conversation with him. The rest are just lies. When I left, his stats taking free-kicks became worse. I was surprised seeing that some journalists who knew me were reporting this,” he explains.
He concluded his thoughts about Real Madrid by trying to explain why it was so hard for him to succeed.
“When we got to Madrid Ancelotti had just left, and he had a really good relationship with the players. It looked as if we got there with a whip for the players. The atmosphere was against us. Casillas had just left, Navas, Benzema’s arrest, tough things happened. When all goes wrong, who’s paying? I did. I knew how Cristiano was, so I had to guide him. The issue comes when you’re guiding seven more players and some of them are playing often, so they go and leak stuff to the press,” he said.
Benitez didn’t want to accept the fact that maybe he also did some things wrong. In fact, Zidane was able to win three straight Champions League title with the same core and group of players Benitez was in charge of.