Should Rafa Stay or Should He Go Now?By: Rob | April 14th, 2010
Juventus have told Rafa Benitez he has ten days to decide whether he wants to be considered for the managerial position in Turin. This is interesting, coming as it does just a couple of days after Real Madrid fans told Madrid-cheerleading newspaper Marca that Rafa was the manager they most wanted. On the back of a trying season at Liverpool, Benitez has become Europe’s most wanted manager.
Assuming Liverpool don’t get bought out they can’t really afford to sack Benitez (only a year into a five year contract signed after last years success), despite the poor season that they’ve had. So Benitez has a big choice ahead of him.
Of course Juve aren’t exactly having a vintage time of it at the moment. While they had a good run earlier in the season (and were backed by yours truly to take the Serie A title at the start of the season!) they currently are locked in a race to even make it into the Champions League.
Real obviously are doing slightly better – Second in La Liga, but out of the Champions League and unlikely to catch Barca now means that they will almost certainly be looking for new management in the summer.
Juve, clearly are in a similar position to Liverpool, so jumping ship might seem an odd choice. But it would be a fresh start (and if some of Liverpool’s top players have begun to lose faith in him, it might be time to go), and he would have some money to spend. It would be interesting to see how his refusal to change tactics at any time goes down in Italy.
The Real Madrid job is obviously a poisoned chalice. He’d have access to some of the best footballers in the world, but he’d have little to no say in new signings, and pressure to deliver. Europe is his speciality though, and progress in the Champions League is what Real crave.
The main problem he might have at Real would be the lack of control. Rafa likes to be very hands on, and likes his players to stick rigorously to his tactics (even to the point where it becomes stifling). Its hard to see Cristiano Ronaldo or Sergio Ramos sticking to set positions. And that’s without even thinking about the powers off the field.
But no doubt it would be a big big opportunity for him.
As for Liverpool, should they be hoping he stays or goes? Its a tough one. He’s obviously had a hard season, and the players don’t look they totally trust him, usually signs that would point to change. But he did deliver them the Champions League, and came incredibly close to the league title last season.
Its possible Liverpool are just having a poor year and will bounce back. But with Man City’s money spending capabilities (especially if they do make the Champions League) its going to be an uphill struggle to catch them.
A change in manager could obviously have one of two effects – they could plummet and go into a rebuilding phase, or they could bounce back under fresh ideas and come into their own again.
Will the big names stick around to see it out? Both Gerrard and Torres are on long contracts, but its tough to imagine either facing a season outside the Champions League.