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Benítez, Florentino and that campaign


Rafa Benítez used his appearance as a pundit on BT Sport to level criticisms against Florentino. He set out several well-known truths, which will have surprised nobody, but what brought such disrepute on Real Madrid is that the criticisms were made so crudely and directly by the man who up until so recently was the club’s manager. He boasted of being a true ‘club man’ – and that’s how it was presented – learning his trade in the ranks first as a player (a lesser one) and then (more successfully) as a manager. An uncontrolled bitterness can be detected In his declarations. It’s quite clear that he’s been paid his severance pay, because it’s only now that he has broken his silence.

Without denying that he’s right over much of the matter at hand, he’s shown exactly what kind of person he is. It wasn’t long ago, when he was on better terms with Florentino, that the coach defended himself during his bad spell by saying that there was a campaign against Florentino, against the club and against himself. He said it soon after meeting the illustrious President at Valdebebas, making it easy to believe the idea was suggested to him. Florentino tends to defend himself like this against his (few, but ever more numerous) critics: they’re against him, they’re against the club. Benítez was submissive to Florentino from the day he arrived, but that day it verged on the ridiculous.

When he joined the club he knew full well how much Florentino likes to involve himself in managerial affairs and how he operates. He accepted the fact that he’d be a coach, not a manager. He signed on the dotted line with tears of happiness in his eyes. On his first day, Florentino walked him around the turf, arm on his shoulder, and it was him who went to visit Bale, to who he gave the the theoretical position of ‘king of the pitch’. In Australia and China he answered questions about Cristiano by playing down his importance to the side. His starting XIs paid careful attention to the desires of the President, who had no qualms in tossing him aside when it suited him. And only now does he act the hard man!