Scholes surprised Madrid replaced Ancelotti with Benitez

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has expressed surprise that Rafael Benitez was appointed as Real Madrid’s manager in the summer.

The Spanish coach was chosen by Florentino Perez to take over from Carlo Ancelotti, who fell short in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League last season.

Benitez’s appointment raised eyebrows and his brief time in charge has been laced with criticism for his perceived defensive tactics.

He’s also had to deny dressing room unrest and is currently dealing with the fall-out from Saturday’s four-goal loss to Barcelona in the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I was surprised he got the job to be honest with you,” Scholed told BT Sport.

“I thought Ancelotti was a brilliant manager and whenever you speak to a player who’s played under Ancelotti, they love him.

“If you’re going to sack a manager at least get an upgrade, and I don’t think Benitez was.”

Madrid are currently six points behind Barca in the table following back-to-back defeats in La Liga.

However, they top their Champions League group and have already secured qualification into the last 16, and a win against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday will seal top spot.