‘Benitez wasn’t Madrid’s problem’

Former Liverpool forward Luis Garcia has defended Rafa Benitez after his unsuccessful Real Madrid spell. ‘He wasn’t the problem…’

Benitez was appointed in summer 2015 and sacked in January 2016 to make way for Zinedine Zidane and Garcia, who played under Benitez at Anfield, felt the hire was the right one.

“When his arrival became official I thought he was the right man. He knew the club, had been there for many years and knew how the institution functions,” Garcia said, AS reports.

“Benitez had been waiting for this opportunity for many years. We all knew one day he would end up as Madrid Coach.

“In the end, everything in football is measured by results, not the players or the club, it’s the results.

“It’s been a long time since Madrid won a trophy. They won the Champions League two years ago but the League has been very difficult.

“Madrid fights for every trophy. They don’t deserve to finish second.

“When Rafa came, he tried to adapt the team to his style and way of playing, but it didn’t work.”

Garcia accepts there’s been somewhat of an improvement under Zidane but argues the Frenchman’s recent results suggest there is a bigger problem at Santiago Bernabeu than the trainer.

“When Zidane took over, things started well, as often happens when a team changes Coach,” he noted.

“But Madrid still have a lot of work to do, which means Benitez probably wasn’t the problem.

“[Zidane], even if the League and the Champions League don’t go well this year, will get another chance for next year.

“They’ll re-organise the team, try to bring in a couple of players who can adapt to his style. Madrid isn’t an easy team. It’s a special club, so we’ll have to see what happens.”

Tags Luis Garcia Rafa Benitez