Benitez denies summit meeting with Ronaldo and Ramos ahead of Barcelona showdown

Reports in the Spanish press had suggested several Real Madrid players expressed their unhappiness with the side's defensive tactics to their manager in a recent meeting
Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has been forced to deny reports of a player rebellion ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with Barcelona.

Los Blancos - despite being La Liga’s top scorers - have been labelled defensive since Benitez took charge and reports in the Spanish press claimed Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo held a meeting with their coach to complain about the playing style.

However, speaking in a press conference on Friday, the Madrid boss rubbished the reports.

“I have a lot of respect for your profession as journalists, but this story about a meeting is completely false,” he said.

It’s also been reported that James Rodriguez is unhappy with how his manager has managed his comeback from an injury.

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The Colombian felt he was ready for action a little while ago, but Benitez preferred to err on the side of caution and delay his comeback.

“The first thing that I did when James came back was say hello and chat with him,” the 55-year-old said when asked if there were any problems with the player.

“I want him to be in the best shape possible to come back and score goals for us - he is a brilliant player.”

James did return for the loss to Sevilla last time out, which was the first defeat of the Benitez era.

That saw Madrid slip three points behind Barcelona at the top of the table and the criticism that followed focused on the former Liverpool manager and his tactics.

“I don’t like being in second place, we want to be first, of course, but we have the chance to sort that out on Saturday,” he added.

“I respect other people’s opinions, of course, but for me we’re an attacking team and we will continue to play as we have done, but with more efficiency if possible.”