It has been an preseason of drama at Real Madrid. From the firing of the popular Carlo Ancelotti to the seedy way on which club Iker Casillas was shown the door to the ongoing transfer saga of David de Gea.
But those stories could all be dwarfed by the rumblings out of Madrid about how unhappy Cristiano Ronaldo is with the Rafa Benitez.
Ronaldo has a huge ego, although if you score 314 goals in 300 games for the club you probably deserve one. The Portuguese star has been the focal point of Real Madrid since he arrived from Manchester United six years ago. The team has been built around him and he has delivered.
In a dressing room full of world class stars Ronaldo has been the alpha dog. But it appears that new boss Rafa Benitez is trying to change that.
It all started in a recent press conference of Benitez’s when he was asked specifically about Ronaldo’s credentials, all the coach would say was,
“Cristiano is one of the best in the world, he’s fundamental”.
Pressed on the subject, he dug his heels in:
“It’s hard to say who’s the best. Cristiano, Bale, Isco, Benzema and James are up there. I think that it’s enough to say he’s one of the best players in the world”.
Then against Roma at the weekend it was clear that Gareth Bale appears to have become the focal point of the Real attack and not CR7. Add in that Ronaldo was substituted 10 minutes earlier than Bale has it is clear that Rafa Benitez has a brooding superstar on his hands.
It is clear that this is a situation that is being directed by under fire president Florentino Pérez. What Perez’s end goal is unclear, but the atmosphere in the Madrid dressing room is going to get really cold unless the club does something to appease the two time Ballons d’Or winner.