Real Madrid Manager Rafa Benitez To Be Sacked Today

Manager's departure expected to be announced in a press conference this evening.

Rafa Benitez's brief tenure at Real Madrid is set to come to a (perhaps unsurprising) end today, according to Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague. The Spaniard was only appointed at the Bernabeu back in the summer, following on from Carlo Ancelotti's departure, but despite being handed a three-year deal it looks as though he'll have lasted just over half-a-year in the job. Speculation has been rife for a while that Benitez was set to be axed, despite the fact that his team sit just three points off the top of the table in La Liga. Reports of a possible dismissal first emerged back in November, after their 4-0 hammering to Barcelona in El Clasico, and have gained traction in recent weeks, even though his side put 10 goals past Rayo Vallecano just before Christmas. This weekend they drew 2-2 with Gary Neville's Valencia, and that may now prove to be his last match in charge, with a press conference called for this evening where his departure is likely to be confirmed by Madrid president Florentino Perez. Balague said that although nothing official has been confirmed yet, "It's quite clear that Benitez does not have the confidence of the board and does not have the confidence of president Florentino Perez." The journalist also tweeted that the manager's spell at Madrid was done:

Rafa's time at Real Madrid is up...

€” Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 4, 2016
The press conference is expected to take place around 5-6pm, where there should be confirmation one way or another. There has been talk of a possible return for Jose Mourinho, while Zinedine Zidane has also been linked with the job, and that is only likely to intensify if Benitez is sacked. Do you think Benitez deserves to be sacked? Let us know in the comments.
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NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.