Head to head: Luis Enrique versus Rafael Benitez: Pressure is high


It has never been easy for any manager sitting on that throne at either Real Madrid or Barcelona. Just ask any of these two teams' former managers, one will receive a detail answer of how tough a job it is.

The reason? Simple. They are managers of arguably the two greatest football club in the world, teams who ask for nothing else but to win every match and conquer every competition they participate. The pressure, therefore, is damn high.

Luis Enrique and Rafael Benitez, like any of their predecessors, are also facing high pressure, albeit different, from everywhere: the board of director, the fans, the plaudits, etc. 


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For Enrique, his mission is no longer to revive the Catalan giant after the fall of tiqui-taca; but to maintain and further Barcelona's domination following last year's glorious treble. Nevertheless, though it's hard to succeed, it's even harder to remain successful. Barcelona's pre-season fixtures, especially the two nightmare at Supercopa and UEFA Super Cup; have revealed a lot of problems for the boss to work on.

The Spanish manager's job will be even tougher, as Barcelona is currently under a transfer sanction from UEFA, preventing them from using any new signings until next year; while a lot of players have already departed. In addition to that, Copa America and its residue effect will also greatly affect Enrique's plan for this season.

It was a great journey for Enrique and the team last year, but they cannot continue clinging to glory of the past. The new season is coming, and the team cannot afford any complacency. Especially when standing right behind them is Real Madrid, whose manager is facing an even higher pressure.


Real Madrid's new boss, Rafael Benitez, bears a little different kind of expectation that is somewhat similar to Enrique's last season: to rebuild the team from scratch. But unlike Luis Enrique, Benitez has to face with an unique challenge: Florentino Perez's patience.

Working under a notoriously impatient boss like Perez, of course Benitez knows the position he is in. Unless Benitez can win something big, the construction tycoon will have no trouble sacking his newly appointed manager (come to think of it, Benitez is not safe even if he won the Champions League. Ask Vicente del Bosque). Not to mention, although Benitez is a true Madrid man, his defensive philosophy is too different from that of a team where attacking football is the religion.

Benitez's pressure also comes from the changing room. That is, everyone is fighting with everyone else. Thanks to the departure of Iker Casillas and Benitez's new tactic of putting Gareth Bale in charge, Real Madrid's first-team squad at the moment is full of conflicts awaiting explosion. Only god knows what will happen if one day Cristiano Ronaldo and his cohort started to feel 'sad' about others.

Facing with these pressure, only by winning as many times as possible will Benitez save his job. One or two mistakes and the Spanish man will dream that he did not accept the job offer in the first place.

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