Real Madrid to make major announcement with Benitez's future in the balance

Real Madrid will hold a press conference at 7.30pm local time in Madrid (6.30pm GMT) in which they are expected to discuss the future of Rafa Benitez.

The former Liverpool manager was already under huge pressure after poor performances and shaky results, but Saturday's 4-0 defeat by Barcelona at the Bernabeu turned his woes into a full-blown crisis.

Real Madrid's board of directors are to meet later on Monday, with the press conference to follow.
Real Madrid to make major announcement with Benitez's future in the balance
With rumours swirling, club president Florentino Perez is believed to be considering firing Benitez and bringing in B side coach Zinedine Zidane for the rest of the season.

Yet Perez has consistently backed the manager he installed in June despite the criticism levelled at the team.

And Marca reported on Monday morning that Benitez is safe, at least for now - though the paper did also claim that Benitez is loathed in the dressing room.

Further reports have claimed that star player Cristiano Ronaldo has threatened to quit the club unless Benitez is sacked.

But at a club so riven with poltics as Real, it is very difficult to predict what will happen - particularly given the fact that it is not unprecedented for Real Madrid to announce such a press conference only to back the incumbent manager.

Furthermore, Zidane has publicly poured cold water on suggestions that he will take over, saying this weekend that he still lacks the experience to do so and wishes to finish the job he has started at Real Madrid Castilla, the club's second string team.

VIEW FROM SPAIN: Cristian Maxedo of Eurosport's Madrid office believes that Benitez continues to be safe: "Yes, they have just announced a press conference for tonight but it’s something that we would expect after the disaster in the Clásico, and especially after Florentino Pérez was booed during the match.

"We think they are not going to fire Benítez. They will strengthen Benítez’s position and show their total support for him.

"We also think Pérez will deny rumours that he either dictated or suggested the starting XI for the match against Barcelona.

"All of the rumours in Madrid currently point this way - but being Florentino Pérez… only God knows!"

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