Rafa Benitez was fourth choice for Real Madrid, claims Ramon Calderon

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Rafa Benitez was doomed to fail at Real Madrid from the moment he signed a contract. That is according to former club president Ramon Calderon, who claims Florentino Perez approached three top managers before eventually settling for the then-Napoli boss.

Benitez was dismissed from duty earlier this month after a turbulent seven months in charge and replaced with Zinedine Zidane.

The main reason behind the decision was believed to be because he failed to win over senior players in the dressing room, but Calderon says Perez never truly believed in Benitez's credentials.


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Perez, who had already faced widespread criticism for sacking Carlo Ancelotti, was forced to move for Benitez only after he was rejected by Jose Mourinho, Joachim Low and Jurgen Klopp.

Mourinho had just signed a new contract with Chelsea while Low is hellbent on leading the world champions Germany to glory at Euro 2016. Klopp, who was then unemployed, now manages Liverpool.

Fourth choice

"Benitez was a coach who was already a dead man walking from the start at Real Madrid," he told Goal.

"That's because he was not the chosen one, he was the fourth option. They tried to bring [Jose] Mourinho but the Portuguese did not want to go back.

"After that they tried to get Joachim Low, and he didn't want to come either. The third person they tried to get was [Jurgen] Klopp, and the German also rejected.

"So the last option was Rafa Benitez. They brought him in even though he didn't suit Real Madrid's style."

Big changes

Of course, so much has changed since that summer, not just at Real Madrid. Mourinho has since joined Benitez on the unemployment line while Klopp is the manager of a Premier League outfit.

The German, who at the time of the alleged approach from Los Blancos, had only just left Borussia Dortmund and was planning on a 12-month sabbatical. But Klopp is a manager who thrives off long-term plans, so, perhaps, the Real Madrid job never appealed to him anyway.

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