Football

Published on June 20th, 2017 | by Paco Polit

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Who will win Madrid media battle? Cristiano Ronaldo v El Presidente

The spinning operations of both Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are in full operation in a battle for positive headlines over a Real rift 

Every day a new tidbit peeks its head into the public view regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s moody state, new revelations in the tax evasion drama or hypothesis related to the players future, such as the one that places him next season in Manchester United in exchange for a cool 200 million euros (!)

However, if we talk about PR spinning, we should bring ‘El Maestro’ to the table. We are, of course, talking about Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez, possibly the single most powerful individual in the Spanish football world due to his position as the Bernabeu boss, but also thanks to his iron-grip policy towards the media and other institutions.

Perez is undoubtedly the puppet-master behind some of the most well-known sports national newspapers, radio shows and TV shows, leaking privileged information to his benefit and shutting down any outlet that resists being brought into the fold. The strategy is clear and straightforward: spin any negative news and send a single, unified message throughout the media, overloading the football fan with the headlines that Real Madrid’s president wants.

This Tuesday, two of the biggest (and more biased) newspapers in Spain, Marca and ABC, ran ‘exclusive’ interviews with Pérez, who in turn was interviewed hours before by another radio show (El Transistor) with strong ties to him over the last two decades. In all three media appearances, Florentino didn’t flinch regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s reported unhappiness: “I will talk to him”, he simply shrugged off. His intention is sitting down with the superstar once that Confederations Cup is finished and woo him into staying.

Meanwhile, Cristiano is mute and focused on Portugal’s games in Russia over the next few days. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean he’s unable to push forward his own agenda using the media as pawns.

Cadena Cope broke the news that the player feels “disappointed” with Pérez for his media and public shaming after the tax evasion scandal broke out, considering the president guilty of not having stopped the wave of criticism towards him. That mood would not have lifted any with the news breaking on Tuesday that the footballer is set to testify in the case in a court in Madrid on 31st July.

The third player in this chess game, Jorge Mendes, is also reportedly moving in the shadows and tinkering with many elements that could harm Cristiano and himself. Besides leaking that crazy Manchester United’s keen interest on signing the Portuguese star, his legal advisors are having a busy month looking into all the possible problems that Mendes’ players may face.

In this sense, Diario As reports that Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel Di María, Fabio Coentrao and ‘The Tiger’ Radamel Falcao have all complied and accepted paying back all the money defrauded to the Spanish tax authorities plus interest, and any fine imposed as punishment.

The spinning game may go on deep into the summer, as rumblings, rumors and biased leaks will surely keep trickling, with the objective of putting any of the main actors in this drama in a more favorable position towards a negotiation that is certainly going to be hard-fought. At least, it will require some level of effort from Florentino, something that can’t be said about his reelection as Real Madrid’s president, which took place quietly and discretely early this Monday with absolutely no opposition.

No other candidate dared to show up to challenge Pérez (it’s the third time in a row that he is the only candidate to contend) on turf he has made his own over the last two decades, with a short break between 2006 and 2009.

After he began his second stint as Madrid’s boss, Pérez toughened up the conditions in order to become a presidential candidate (20 years as a member and offering a personal guarantee on 15% of the club’s budget), effectively wiping out any opposition. Add Perez’s control of the media into the mix, and it’s understandable that nobody wants to be run over by Florentino’s steamroller of power and influence.

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About the Author

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Paco Polit is a Valencia-based journalist with over ten years experience reporting La Liga, covering both Valencia CF and Levante’s news, signings, ups and downs. Madrid and Barcelona are huge, indeed, but the Spanish La Liga is much, much more: regarded as the top football competition in the world, he enjoys explaining why to every reader from abroad.



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