Rafael Benitez will never have the same relationship with Real Madrid’s players enjoyed by Carlo Ancelotti, according to Jorge Valdano.
Benitez has endured a difficult start at Santiago Bernabeu, with rumours of dressing room discontent coupled with a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico and the Denis Cheryshev controversy, which saw them ejected from the Copa del Rey.
Valdano, who coached Madrid from 1994 to 1996 and has also served as the club’s director of football, believes president Florentino Perez took too much of a risk by replacing the popular Ancelotti with Benitez, who he describes as “cold”.
“The players who listened and responded sympathetically to Ancelotti now obey the orders of Benitez like soldiers – it is not the same,” Valdano told Record.
“Florentino took a risk by disposing of a man who had won over the players. It is very hard to get a group of elite players to love their coach.
“Rafa Benitez is fighting to reach that level; that which Ancelotti achieved effortlessly is costing Rafa a great deal because his scientific narrative is unavoidably cold.
“To get back to feeling like a team, Benítez’s formulas have to guarantee wins for the team, goals for Cristiano, a spectacle for the fans – but first and foremost, results.
“The only problem is that you cannot guarantee results in football and they are more difficult to achieve when there is not a person, an idea or a set of values which produce what is known as the ‘pride of belonging’ in the dressing room.”
Real Madrid face Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday prior to Saturday’s La Liga fixture against Villarreal on Sunday.