Karim Benzema Says Real Madrid Squad Want Santiago Solari to StayMarch 11, 2019
Karim Benzema has said he and the rest of Real Madrid's squad want Santiago Solari to remain in charge, at least until the end of the season.
The Argentinian looks to have little future at the Santiago Bernabeu after seeing Real knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Ajax in the last 16 on March 5, just days after Barcelona ended their hopes in La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
Following Los Blancos' 4-1 win over Real Valladolid on Sunday, Benzema was asked if Solari will see out the season.
"I do hope so, but it's a matter for the club," he said to Movistar Partidazo (h/t AS). "Of course the squad wants him to stay, I certainly do. We're behind him, and there will always be speculation."
The Frenchman was also questioned on whether the squad is united or divided: "United as always. What happens in the dressing room stays within. That's my view on things, and that's the way I see the squad. If it wasn't like that there is no way we would have won the game against Valladolid."
"Yes, we're down that's true after these eliminations and with the league being almost impossible, I guess that's the way football is," he added. "We need to keep working and strive to win the final eleven league games."
Real won 2-1 at Ajax, but they slipped to a 4-1 defeat at home to the Dutch side to end their hopes of a fourth consecutive Champions League title.
As the Guardian's Sid Lowe observed, the result capped a horrendous week for Real:
Those results have made Solari's departure from Madrid virtually inevitable, the only question is when the trigger will be pulled.
After Real went 1-0 down to Anuar Tuhami's 29th-minute strike on Sunday, he seemed at risk. Ruben Alcaraz had already missed a penalty by then, while Sergi Guardiola had seen two goals disallowed following VAR review as Valladolid rocked the Spanish giants.
However, Raphael Varane ensured Los Blancos went in level at the break, before a penalty and a header from Benzema put Real clear. Luka Modric rounded out the scoring after Casemiro was sent off for a second booking.
Following their win—with a scoreline that was ultimately comfortable even if the balance of play was far from it—ESPN's Dermot Corrigan believes there will be no rush to remove Solari from his duties:
As long as their place in the top four does not come under threat, there would be little point replacing him before the end of the season when there is nothing left to otherwise achieve.
Los Blancos are 10 points clear of fifth-place Alaves, too, so they look to be in little danger on that front.
As such, the club can spend the coming months working to find the right candidate to take over this summer.