La Liga

Real Madrid prize individual skill over teamwork – Sacchi

Arrigo Sacchi says individual skills are given more importance than teamwork at Real Madrid and feels head coach Rafael Benitez must make compromises to avoid upsetting the squad’s hierarchy.

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Former AC Milan boss Sacchi served as director of football at the Liga giants from 2004 to 2005, offering him valuable insight into the workings behind the scenes at Santiago Bernabeu.

Benitez, approaching the half-way mark of his first campaign in charge, has guided Madrid to third in the table, five points behind reigning champions Barcelona.

The ex-Liverpool manager has also secured passage to the Champions League round of 16, with the 2013-14 winners drawn against Roma in the first knockout stage.

The club’s notoriously demanding supporters appear unconvinced by the new man in charge, with many quick to express their discontent when performances are deemed unsatisfactory, particularly at home, like the 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Barca last month.

“Benitez has not yet connected with the fans or [president] Florentino Perez,” Sacchi was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Italian has a degree of sympathy for Benitez, claiming the club prioritises the profile of its stars, Cristiano Ronaldo chief among them, ahead of cohesive play.

“They’re based more around individual skills than teamwork and the manager is forced to make the most of that without disrupting the team’s hierarchy,” he said of Madrid’s values.

“They’re a star-studded squad, possibly the best in the world, but that doesn’t always make them a team.”

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