Rafa Benitez endured a fractured relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo during his seven-month spell as Real Madrid boss, and the Spaniard was never going to last long because of it.
The pair got off on the wrong foot when Benitez refused to confirm Ronaldo was the best player in the world. Later, footage emerged of a visibly-frustrated Cristiano after Benitez disallowed a goal in training.
And now Spanish newspaper El Pais have reported that Ronaldo reacted badly to Benitez sending him a USB with instructions on how to lose his marker. As if Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer needs help on finding space.
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The 55-year-old, currently manager of Newcastle, had one of his coaches send Ronaldo a USB pen drive containing images and videos on how to free himself of a defender.
But the Real Madrid winger didn’t take too well to Benitez’s guidance, declining the gift and sending the former Liverpool boss a message.
“Tell Benitez that I’ll send him a USB drive with all my goals on it for him to study,” was Ronaldo’s response, according to the Mirror.
Benitez was sacked with the club third in La Liga, four points behind then-leaders Atletico Madrid.
Los Blancos are even further behind current leaders Barcelona now but the rift with Ronaldo and the 4-0 home defeat to the Catalan giants in November didn’t help Benitez’s cause at all.
The Spaniard voiced his frustration at his dismissal during a television appearance with BT Sport, even taking a shot at Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
“My assistant Fabio Pecchia said there is a permanent presence of the chairman,” Benitez said, per The Guardian.
He continued: “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 – and that is the reason why Real Madrid has won one league title in the last seven, Atlético 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.”