Rafa Benitez 'to get Real Madrid backing' at post Barcelona defeat press conference
Reports from Spain are suggesting Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez is to get a stay of execution following Saturday's humiliating 4-0 La Liga defeat at home to Barcelona in 'El Clasico'.
The Spanish giants have called a press conference for later today.
Real's 4-0 drubbing at the hands of their arch rivals was their most humbling loss at home since they were beaten 6-2 by Barcelona in 2009.
Newspaper Marca suggested yesterday the fate of 55-year-old Benitez is sealed, although it was suggested Madrid president Florentino Perez would wait until the end of the season.
Manchester United has also been put on high alert after it was reported that talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has made his intentions clear.
It's has been reported that the Portuguese has told his teammates: "Either he goes or I do."
Real Madrid have responded privately by saying Benitez's job is safe.
The weekend defeat, however, led to angry calls from fans for Perez to step down.
However, there have been reports the construction magnate is not expected to heed their calls with local media reporting he will instead give his backing to under-fire coach Rafa Benitez.
Perez, in his second stint in charge of the world's richest club by income, has been blamed for Real's woes due to a perception he interferes in team selection.
Rather than give his coaches a free hand, Perez is believed to instruct them to deploy Real's marquee signings instead of players who may be in better form or better suited to a particular match scenario.
The last time the fans turned against him in 2006, Perez abruptly quit and he will be desperate to win back their trust.
Barca's victory on Saturday put them six points clear of Real at the top and Atletico Madrid leapfrogged their city rivals into second thanks to Sunday's 1-0 win at Real Betis.
While Benitez, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti at the end of last season, may survive for the time being but if results do not quickly improve he is likely to fall on his sword.
The former Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli manager, the 10th Perez has hired, could be replaced by former Real and France great Zinedine Zidane, who is currently in charge of the club's B team, local media have reported.
Real's next outing is Wednesday's Champions League Group A match at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Real are already assured of a place in the last 16 and will look to secure top spot with a win in Ukraine.
Belfast Telegraph Digital