Rafael Benitez is the ideal coach to lead Real Madrid into a new chapter of their history, according to club president Florentino Perez.
The former Napoli boss took over from Carlo Ancelotti in the close-season after the club from the capital were beaten to the Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles by arch rivals Barcelona.
After a disappointing 0-0 draw with newly-promoted Sporting Gijon in his top-flight debut as coach, Benitez has led his new club to three wins, netting 12 times unanswered in the process.
The president, clearly encouraged by the start the new coach has made, thanked his predecessor and enthused about what the future might hold with Benitez at the helm.
“Last season was atypical in two parts.” Perez said during an assembly of selected club members. “The first stretch of the season was spectacular. We won two titles and went on a run of 22 straight wins. That has only happened on two occasions before.
“The second half of the season saw us fail to secure our objectives and we suffered with serious key injuries at the final part of the run-in.
“We had reached a point where the existing project had run its course and we needed a fresh stimulus. Ancelotti will always be fondly remembered and will go down in club history as the man who secured our tenth European Cup.
“Rafa Benitez is the best possible coach for Real Madrid. He played in the youth system and is a Madrid person through and through. Hard work is key in his coaching methods and he will get the best out of the players. We’ve given him the best players to work with.”
Perez also spoke out on the issue of former goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ acrimonious departure from the club, suggesting there is no ill-feeling on his part.
“Casillas, and only Casillas, made the decision to leave Real Madrid,” he said.
“He received an offer from FC Porto which we accepted. Casillas has been the best goalkeeper in Real Madrid’s history.”