Florentino: Madrid an eternal club

Florentino Perez hailed Real Madrid as an “eternal” club, Zinedine Zidane for “changing our recent history” and acknowledged Rafa Benitez’s “good job”.

Perez was interviewed by Marca as part of Madrid’s Champions League celebrations after they won the European cup for an unprecedented 11th time, and he took the opportunity to publicise the “greatness” of Los Blancos.

“La Undecima gives you great satisfaction, first to the fans, who are able to answer all the club’s calls from anywhere in the world. In situations like this, you realise the greatness of Real Madrid,” he began.

“It’s not normal to win 11 European cups, but it’s true that it’s a competition in which the Real Madrid are comfortable, it’s in our DNA. Our greats such as Santiago Bernabeu, Alfredo di Stefano and Francisco Gento have told us that the European cup is the most prestigious competition in the world.

“Until January, we’d had a good run in the Champions League. Our slump was in part due to so many injuries, but I still thought we could do something like [La Undecima] because we have a great team and never lost hope of winning something important. Benitez did a good job. Don’t forget that.

“Zidane symbolises values ​​such as respect, humility, talent. He’s very serious in his work. When I spoke to him in January, he said he was prepared to work, that he knew Real Madrid very well and the dressing room.

“He said, ‘don’t worry President, we’ll win something. It’s guaranteed.’ The other day, when we had our embrace, he said, ‘we’ve done it’. He said the same thing to me in 2002.

“The truth is that I arrived in 2000 with the firm intention of signing Zidane. For our project, Zidane was strategic. Great players bring in great income and enthusiasm. The key element was Zidane. He’s changed the recent history of Real Madrid. Since 2001, he’s created our understanding of football, which has helped us win these European Cups.

“I was watching the [1998] World Cup final with [his deceased wife] Pitina and said, ‘look, he’s going to be a Real Madrid player, the one who doesn’t have much hair!’

“He’s a person who learns a lot and has the values ​​of Real Madrid so ingrained within him. I knew that if he wanted to become a Coach, he’d be just as good as he was a player. When I returned in 2009, I saw a different Zidane and knew he wanted to become a Coach.

“I believe that Madrid are eternal. When I arrived, we were given the award for best club of the 20th century. It’s true that Madrid are the world’s club. I tell that to the players.

“When you play for a club, you’re a player for that club, but when you go to Madrid, you’re a player for the world. There’s no place where you’re not recognised or acclaimed. I have an obligation to continue feeding the myth and the legend [of Madrid], and that’s what I’ve done so far.”

Tags Florentino Perez La Undecima Rafa Benitez Zinedine Zidane