Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has urged the club’s supporters to remain united amid criticism of coach Rafael Benitez and suggestions Jose Mourinho could return to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Benitez has had a difficult start to life at Madrid with his team two points off leaders Barcelona, having played a game more, while also enduring a 4-0 Clasico defeat at the hands of the Spanish champions.
Former Madrid boss and longtime adversary Mourinho has been linked with a return to the club following his departure from Chelsea but Perez used his traditional Christmas address to urge supporters to back Benitez and his squad.
“I would like to convey a message of unity and excitement,” said the president.
“There are millions of Madridistas scattered all over the world and, as is the case for families at this time of year, this is a good opportunity to strengthen the bond that unites us all.
“Real Madrid is an incredible passion we all share and represents a set of values that we must continue to instill in the younger generations.
“We wake up each morning spurred on in our quest to add to our legend and nothing matters more in this regard than standing united, that is what will make us even greater and stronger.
“I wish you all a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.”
Benitez has been forced to play down suggestions of dressing room unrest during his maiden campaign at the club and Mourinho’s availability has only fuelled speculation over the Spaniard’s future.
“My wish is that all the Real Madrid supporters can enjoy good health and enjoy the holidays with their families,” Benitez added.
“I hope we can celebrate a lot of wins for them. I wish all the fans a very Merry Christmas.”
Captain Sergio Ramos said: “Of course it goes without saying, we the team are going to give it our all to make 2016 a great year and ensure we are able to celebrate important silverware in Cibeles at the end of the season with all the supporters.”