Rafa Benitez believes Real Madrid's failures over the last seven years have been primarily down to one man: Florentino Perez.
The Spanish manager was acting as a pundit for BT Sport during Real Madrid's 2-0 win over AS Roma on Wednesday night and took the chance to explain why his time as manager ended in disaster.
Benitez, who left his position at Napoli to coach Los Blancos last summer, lasted just seven months in the Bernabeu dugout before club president Perez pulled the trigger, replacing him with Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman became the 11th different head coach across Perez's two spells as club president.
And the former Liverpool manager claims it is no coincidence that Real Madrid's failure to keep pace with Barcelona coincided with Perez's return to power in 2009. The president's constant search for perfection has, in his eyes, held the club back in recent years.
There is, however, no denying that Benitez struggled to harness the biggest personalities in the Real Madrid dressing room, especially with regards to Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese was reportedly left dissatisfied with Benitez's appointment and failed to give him his best under his stewardship. He eventually finished with the worst win percentage (61%) of any of the last five Real Madrid managers.
But Benitez, again, says the lack of time afforded to him by Perez was the root cause of the team's troubles and believes that is the main difference between Barcelona, who have won five of the last seven La Liga titles, and Real Madrid, who have won just one.
Here are rest of Benitez's comments:
“My assistant Fabio Pecchia said there is a permanent presence of the chairman. He's around, he's talking with players, he's talking with the press.
“He's always around, it's not easy for a manager, especially coming from England, to see the chairman talking with players or talking with the press every single day.
“When you talk about consistency it is the key word because to win the league you have to be consistent."
“You have to fight against Barcelona and Barcelona has a style of football, a model of football and then Real Madrid is changing managers every year so you have to start again.
"That is the reason why Real Madrid has won one league title in the last seven, Atletico Madrid one and Barcelona five. Barcelona now has been in six cup finals in the last eight years.
"They've won more than double the trophies of Real Madrid in the time that the chairman is there, so I think it is because they are consistent and that is the key to win the league title.”
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