Real Madrid already struggling under Rafael Benitez

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It would be cruel to judge Rafael Benitez after just one game, but the nature of Real Madrid's goalless draw against Sporting Gijon at the weekend has highlighted just how out of depth the Spaniard is. 

On and off the pitch, Spain's most successful club are lacking something special. Florentino Perez's failure to land David de Gea and the sagas of Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos mean Benitez's reign has started under a cloud. A very thundery, black cloud at that. 

Benitez has never been one to employ spectacular attacking football, the sort Madridistas crave and demand, which makes his appointment all the more peculiar. Carlo Ancelotti lasted two years and won them the Champions League, but his successor will be lucky if he lasts the season. 

Rafa's rituals

Known as a manager who favours tactical tinkering over rip-roaring football, Benitez goes against the grain and will inevitably upset an already sensitive fan base if he fails to bow to the clubs ideals. 

Jose Mourinho was thrust out of the exit door in 2013 despite guiding them to a first La Liga title in four years the campaign before, with Fabio Capello sacked for his negative approach shortly after winning them the league in 2007. 

Though technically gifted players such as Juan Mata at Chelsea and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool often impress under his tutelage, flair players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale may struggle with his tactical thinking as the campaign progresses. 

Presidential problems

Perez has always been a stubborn individual, one who usually insists on getting his man regardless of the club he has to negotiate with, but has so far been thwarted in his attempts to prise De Gea from Manchester United's grips. 

He was at one point seemingly in danger of losing key defender and fan favourite Ramos, something that he admitted could of seen him leave the club after already allowing Casillas to join Porto, but has managed to ride the storm and come out on top. 

Yet just like his first spell in charge he already looks in danger of prioritising all the wrong areas. Though Madrid achieved La Decima last year, their failure on the domestic front is obvious for all to see with the club having won just one league title in the past six years. 

Difficult season

Benitez will give everything he can to the role in a bid to win over the fans, but unless he gets Ronaldo and Bale firing again could find his first year at the Santiago Bernabeu to be his last. 

Much of the Madrid squad were content with Ancelotti given his standing as one of the best managers in the game, meaning his Spaniard successor faces a huge battle to get the players on side. 

The 55-year-old usually struggles to transform things when the odds are stacked against him. He must now buck that trend if his dream job is to avoid becoming a nightmare. 

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