Rafael Benitez given vote of confidence

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Full backing: Rafael Benitez (l) and Florentino Perez.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez on Monday gave under-fire coach Rafael Benitez his full backing, just two days after a smarting 4-0 home defeat to arch rivals Barcelona.

“The coach Rafael Benitez has our full support and confidence. He was picked for his professionalism, his achievements, his experience and his ability,” said Perez. Perez, 68, acknowledged “we had a very bad match” against Barcelona, saying he understood the fans’ anger.

“Let him work, the victories will come,” he added. Perez said he had given the 55-year-old Benitez his backing immediately after the game and denied he had received requests from players to sack the coach.

– #360debate: Is it fair that Benitez is under so much pressure?
– CLASICO: Benitez – ‘We’re all to blame for defeat’
– FOLLOW: Live football scores from around the world
– SHARE, RATE, WIN with Sport360 and ValoraFutbol

“He has a good relationship with the players and he has a good relationship with the board and with me,” Perez added.

Former Liverpool and Chelsea manager Benitez has only been in charge for 16 games, but back-to-back defeats now leave Madrid six points behind Barcelona in the title race.

Benitez took over from popular Italian Carlo Ancelotti in June, but despite his many achievements including winning the Champions League in his first season with Liverpool in 2005, he does not have the aura of Ancelotti, who proved adept at managing the egos of the club’s many superstars.

Reports had suggested club legend Zinedine Zidane could takeover at the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos both campaigned for “Carletto” to continue at Madrid at the end of last season. The Madrid fans had called for Perez’s resignation towards the end of Saturday’s thrashing.

And reports in Spain had suggested appointing the hugely popular former French legend and Real Madrid reserve team coach Zinedine Zidane could help Perez ease the fans’ frustration with his running of the club. Zidane, however, played down suggestions he could replace Benitez.

“I am coach of Castilla (the reserves) and Benitez of the first team. Things are fine at the moment,” he said.

“Last year, at the end of the season, I had the feeling that I still lacked something to take over the first team.

“I am doing things little by little and I am in no rush. The important thing is to be happy day-to-day with what I am doing.”

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How Barcelona’s 4-0 El Clasico victory unfolded on Twitter

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El Clasico in tweets.

Tweets about El Calsico generated 831 million impressions (views) on Twitter and across the web.

These were the moments that fans Tweeted most about as measured in Tweets per Minute:

1. @andresiniesta8 goal puts FC Barcelona up 3-0

2. @neymarjr goal puts FC Barcelona up 2-0

3. @LuisSuarez9 second goal of match puts FC Barcelona up 4-0

And these were the top 3 most mentioned players on Twitter for each team.

FC BARCELONA:

1. Lionel Messi

2. Luis Suárez (@LuisSuarez9)

3. Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8)

REAL MADRID:

Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano)

Karim Benzema (@Benzema)

Marcelo Vieira (@MarceloM12)

Lastly, these were the top three most Retweeted Tweets about #ElClásico:

There’s plenty of football to enjoy on Twitter before the next #ElClásico on April 3rd. We’ll leave you with some of the best photos from Saturday’s match:

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Luiz Suarez shocked at ease of Barcelona victory over Real

Andy West 23/11/2015
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Luis Suarez admits he was shocked by how easily Barcelona won at the Bernabeu.

– BARCA: Suarez and Neymar star in Clasico romp
– CLASICO: Benitez – ‘We’re all to blame for defeat’
– FOLLOW: Live football scores from around the world
– SHARE, RATE, WIN with Sport360 and ValoraFutbol

The in-form Uruguayan striker, who has now scored in his last five consecutive games, netted the first and last goals of a spectacular 4-0 victory for the Catalans, who now hold a six-point advantage over their old rivals at the top of La Liga.

Suarez said he never expected to enjoy such a comfortable evening at the Bernabeu.

“We didn’t imagine that we could win like that against Madrid in their own stadium,” he said. “It shows you never know what can happen. “It’s always a sweet feeling to win this kind of game, even more so as the visiting team.”

Rather than dwelling on the hosts’ considerable failings, the frontman was also eager to ensure that Barca receive their fair share of praise for an outstanding team effort.

“It was a complete performance from the start until the finish,” Suarez added. “The result wasn’t so much because of great errors by Madrid, but due to our qualities.

“The fight for La Liga hasn’t finished, but we are delighted to be six points clear of a direct rival.”

Another positive for the reigning champions was the return to action of Lionel Messi, who successfully came through the final half-hour after missing nearly two months with a knee injury.

Messi contributed to Suarez’s second goal with a pass to Jordi Alba which allowed the left-back to release Suarez on goal, and the striker smiled: “We wanted Leo to score a goal. But he’s still more than happy to have come back and with how we won the game.”

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