Real Madrid sack youth coach Alvaro Benito over radio criticism of first team

Real Madrid have sacked youth coach Alvaro Benito after he made negative comments about the first team on a radio show during Wednesday's Copa del Rey defeat to Barcelona.

Real lost 3-0 at home to go out of the competition 4-1 on aggregate, and Benito singled out midfielders Toni Kroos and Casemiro for criticism on Cadena Ser radio.

"The problem is there are players that are playing very far from their level," he said.

"I'm talking about Casemiro who, at the moment, is not good enough to play even a minute for Real Madrid. Kroos is fantastic when the wind is in his favour -- when it goes against him, he abandons ship."

In a statement on Twitter on Friday, Benito said: "I respect the decision of the club, which I have always defended when appearing in the media. I always felt able to speak freely about the club I love.

"I leave with no resentment and will always be grateful to the club for everything they gave me as a player and in my first steps as a coach."

Real did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to reports in the Spanish media, former Real striker Raul Gonzalez will succeed Benito as under-18s coach.

Cadena Ser confirmed Benito had been sacked.

"Tonight, Real Madrid told our colleague Alvaro Benito that he has been sacked as coach of the Juvenil B team. The reason is they disagreed with some of the comments he has made on Cadena Ser," presenter Dani Garrido said in a broadcast on Thursday.

Benito spent seven years as a Real Madrid player but was forced to retire at 26 due to injuries. A well-known television and radio pundit and newspaper columnist, he started coaching Real's youth teams in 2015.