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Plebiscite at the Bernabéu

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 05/12/2015 sportyou
Plebiscite at the Bernabéu © Getty Images Plebiscite at the Bernabéu

'Cheryshev-gate' has upset what looked like was going to be a few days of relative calm at Real Madrid. After the crushing defeat in the Clásico, Madrid had two games that were far away from the Bernabéu, and therefore not subject to possible judgement from the stands. With both Shakhtar Donetsk, in the Champions League and Eibar, in la Liga, both seen off, Cádiz and Getafe appeared on the horizon as two fixtures that would help relax the atmosphere after the painful defeat to Barça. The mistaken fielding of the ineligible Cheryshev at the Carranza, however, that has cost the team its place in the Copa del Rey, means this Saturday's match (16:00 Spanish time) will be of morbid interest to all.

How will the Santiago Bernabéu faithful welcome the team? And, bearing in mind that the eleven players that Rafa Benítez puts out against Getafe can scarcely be blamed for the latest farce, will they turn on the presidential box and its occupants? During the last game, against Barça, a great many fans used the white cardboard sheets that had been provided for the pre-match mosaic as improvised handkerchieves to show their protest and accompany the chants of "Florentino, resign!" Although the president, in the press conference called to ratify Benítez in his post, and with the help of friendly media, attempted to sell the idea that the chanting had been started by members of the Ultras Sur, the cardboard sheets were in fact to be seen all around the stadium.

With this panorama, it is now up to the team to hold up the club, something that is not dissimilar to what FC Barcelona have managed with their own catalogue of scandals in recent years. The legal fall-out of the transfer of Neymar -with Sandro Rosell's resignation included-, Messi and Mascherano's problems with the inland revenue, the sacking of the director of football, Andoni Zubizarreta, Messi's stand-off with Luis Enrique, the FIFA sanction and so on and so forth. These are all front-page stories that have been kept in the background by the team's brilliance and the conquest of the triple crown last season. Against Getafe, Real Madrid's play will be examined with a magnifying glass. And even then, there is no guarantee that the crowd will not turn on the presidential box, whatever the result. The bad news for Madrid is that Benítez has not found the formula yet and, now out of the cup and six points behind Barça in the Liga, people's patience is running out.

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