Former Real Madrid coach Leo Beenhakker has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema’s willingness to track back and help their defence whenever needed.
Beenhakker was in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu between 1986 and 1989, guiding the club to three consecutive La Liga titles.
The Dutchman had players such as Hugo Sanchez, Emilio Butragueno and Bernd Schuster at his disposal during his time at Madrid
And, speaking ahead of Saturday’s much-anticipated Clasico with arch-rivals Barcelona, the work-rate shown by Ronaldo and Benzema reminds him of his stars in the 1980s.
“If Ronaldo has to do dirty work, he does it. And if Benzema has to run a lot because they want to pressure, he does it as well,” Beenhakker told Omnisport.
“They don’t feel too much like a star to work for the team.
“In my time there were players like Hugo Sanchez, Emilio Butragueno, Bernd Schuster and Michel. Just name it.
“They were all beautiful players, but they were always subordinated to the results we were looking for. They were also prepared to do the dirty work. Sometimes they needed to do things for the team’s interest. That’s the power of a team.”
Beenhakker feels it is difficult to analyse the merits of his successful Madrid team and Rafael Benitez’s current crop.
“You can’t compare football from the 80’s with today’s football. Football has evolved a lot. There’s less space. There’s less time. Football players and managers have developed,” he added.
“But just like then it’s a very tight team. They have a lot of star players, world-class players.
“Everyone is still subordinated to the team’s interest. And that’s why they’re big players. It’s about their mentality.”
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