The 2020-21 season was a tough one for Real Madrid and at the end of the season, Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid left the club – in between their departure, the European Super League saga jolted the Football World, where Florentino Perez, the charismatic President of Real Madrid, was at the centre of all the harsh criticism. Thankfully, the concept of Super League met a sad end and Perez is concentrating on rebuilding the best club of the century.
After the departure, a letter written by Zidane circulated in the prominent outlets, which reignited the controversy surrounding Perez.
But, Perez is bold enough to defend himself.
“I know him [Zidane] and it has been a hard year, I fought for him to stay,” Perez told Onda Cero’s Transistor program.
“Knowing Zidane, I wasn’t surprised when he left. This has been a very tough year. I spent the whole afternoon trying to convince him not to leave. I swear on my grandchildren’s lives that I didn’t read Zidane’s letter. That letter was not written by him. That wasn’t Zidane… I know him very well. Zidane left because he was tired, not because of me but because of the media, the press…”
“I wish him well, he has been a legend for Real Madrid and he has all of our recognition, he has the dream of being the French coach and I’m sure he will achieve it.”
There was another legend in Real Madrid named Ilker Casillas whose exit was had been a sad one and when Zidane left, the exit of Casillas was cited more often.
Regarding that Casillas exit, Perez said, “Casillas didn’t leave in a good way. I called him at night, I proposed a farewell event. What happened is that, because of nerves, maybe the day before he hadn’t been at his best. Everyone remembers him as what he was: one of the greats, a legend. It was a childish thing, and he understood that the people here have to say farewell in a good manner.”
Ramos’ protracted exit from Los Merengues was a long-standing source of frustration for supporters, especially those who felt he should have retired with the club he has captained so well, yet Perez believes every effort was made to re-sign the defender.
“I had a tough time at Sergio Ramos’ farewell [event]. I love Ramos like a son, I brought him here in 2005 and I’ve never before been to a press conference with a player.”
“I have an adoration for Sergio Ramos and I’m not going to talk about the bickering. He has been a legend at Real Madrid and that’s what we Real Madrid fans are left with. We offered him a contract, we gave him a deadline and he didn’t accept it.”
“He was thinking about other things and life goes on. He will do very well for sure, and this is his home. I would be delighted if Sergio Ramos went to a club that offered him what we have not been able to offer him.”
“I have such admiration for him, he has been a legend and we wanted him to stay, we offered him a contract, he had a deadline but didn’t make it clear.”
“This is his home and he will return for sure in another role.”
Then comes the issue of Gareth Bale who experienced bitterness in Real Madrid.
But, Perez has nothing but admiration for the star from Wales.
The President said, “Gareth Bale is one of the best players in Europe. I remember the [2018 Champions League] final in Kyiv with that overhead kick, the header in Lisbon, the run against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey…”
With Ramos gone, Marcelo would lead the Los Blancos as Perez said, “Marcelo has one year left on his contract; he will be the captain of Real Madrid. He has been here for many years. It’s difficult to find a left-back like Marcelo. Along with Roberto Carlos, he’s the best left-back there has ever been.”
The media is suggesting that Raphael Varane wishes to leave Real Madrid.
Perez said, “I heard about [him wanting to leave] in the papers and I don’t know anything. He is at the European Championship and we will deal with renewals afterwards. I haven’t spoken to the player and I don’t know what he wants. If he wants to leave he will say so, and if he wants to stay he will say so. Varane is at Real Madrid and has one year left on his contract. I don’t think we have received any offers for him.”
The speculations over the signing of Kylian Mbappe joining Real Madrid tend to gain momentum during every summer transfer.
Perez said, “The Real Madrid fans want the best players to be here, but the best players, perhaps, come at the age of 18. I know what the Real Madrid fans want. They know what my policy is with the mix of the best players and young players. I don’t want to talk about a player who is not ours. Negotiations and signings take place after the European Championship. People trust me, and Mbappe is a great player.”
Real Madrid are focusing on rebuilding and thus, the hierarchy thought that Carlo Ancelotti would be the best man to carry on the legacy of Zidane.
“We are delighted with Ancelotti, with [fitness coach Antonio] Pintus and with this new era. We thought of him from the beginning. We thought he was a good solution and here he is. I didn’t speak to [Mauricio] Pochettino, [Massimiliano] Allegri or [Antonio] Conte.”
Even though some experts suggested that Raul would have been the ideal choice, but Perez said, “We needed more experience and Raul is gaining it year by year. Raul has all the qualities to be Real Madrid coach in the future.”
Perez’s involvement with the failed Super League project brought much derision from English audiences, although the feeling in parts of Spain has been rather different, and the Los Blancos president remains convinced he was saving football.
“I want to be judged as president of Real Madrid, football, in general, needs me,” Perez continued.
“UEFA should worry about creating a more attractive competition. Football is dying, it doesn’t attract young people, the audiences are going down and if nothing is done, the situation will be very bad.”
Real Madrid expect to return to their home stadium in time for the 2021-22 LaLiga Santander season after over a year of construction work, and whilst the bulk of the upgrades have been completed, Perez refused to rule out a further spell away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
“It’s been a great project, I can’t wait for people to see it, it will be ready by the end of next year,” Perez detailed.
“The work has been planned so it can be carried out whilst we maintain holding matches with crowds at the same time.”
“We will see if we have to ask La Liga to play the first two matches away from home, Enrique Cerezo [Atletico Madrid president] hasn’t spoken to me, but I’m sure he’d be delighted if we needed to play at the Wanda Metropolitano, but that’s not our plan.”