Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has called an emergency meeting for Monday afternoon to discuss the future of coach Rafael Benitez, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.
Marca claim Perez has decided to act following Sunday’s pulsating 2-2 draw at Valencia, which left Madrid four points adrift of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and two behind arch-rivals Barcelona, who also have a game in hand.
According to the report, Perez will turn to Castilla boss, and former Madrid midfielder, Zinedine Zidane if he decides to dispense with Benitez’s services.
The 55-year-old made an emotional return to the Santiago Bernabeu – where he worked as an assistant to Vicente del Bosque – in the summer, succeeding Carlo Ancelotti, but has failed to win over the Madrid fans.
The former Liverpool and Napoli boss has a reputation as a safety-first coach and his methods have come under close scrutiny ever since he signed a three-year deal in June 2015.
After the game at Mestalla, Madrid director Emilio Butragueno refused to give assurances over Benitez’s future.
Butragueno had given Benitez his backing late last year, but was less forthcoming when asked on Sunday.
Asked if Benitez’s position would be discussed at a board meeting this week, Butragueno told Movistar+: “I think the team offered a good image.
“The circumstances didn’t help, but even with 10 men the team could have won at the end. There has to be calm.”
Benitez himself was more interested in his team’s performance against Gary Neville’s men and praised their efforts.
He said: “You are entitled to ask the question but I think it is misguided.
“It is a waste to only see the result. The effort made by the team deserves more praise than anything else.
“I cannot control the speculation. What I do is I get the team to work as it has today. They have made a great effort and unfortunately have not taken all three points.
“We played a good game. In the first half for 35 minutes we had control, the second half was difficult but we worked well.
“When we were down to ten we had to make more of an effort and the players did that. We had chances of winning and losing, my regret is that after the goal we couldn’t stop their second.”