The European Super League was boldly announced on Sunday, with Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United the founding members. Florentino Perez, recently re-elected president of Madrid, was slated as being in line to serve as the first president.
The plan wasn’t well-received, however, with things seeming to come crashing down on Tuesday evening when all six English clubs left. Atletico followed them, with Milan, Inter and Juventus issuing statements that made it appear as if they were set to do the same. Madrid played Cadiz that night, winning 3-0, but it seemed that the Super League consisted of just themselves and Barcelona come the final whistle.
Florentino, however, had some things to say shortly after midnight in a radio interview with El Larguero. He explained the project in greater detail and underlined the need for change, explaining that without a revolution of the model upon which European football is constructed, the game will stagnate and die.
“Football changes, and new generations appear and ask for different things,” he said. “We think they want the same as us, but they don’t. Today there are so many distractions for kids. We need to get them to watch football, with competitive games, so the television pays. There are games nobody watches, the truth is I struggle to watch them. In Spain, England and Italy.
“Football is maintained by the biggest clubs, it always has been. Cristiano [Ronaldo] v [Lionel] Messi was great, not just for Madrid and Barcelona, but for Spanish football and football in general. It’s not just a chosen few. The 15 founder members are those who’ve earned it, clubs who’ve made the semi-final and final of the Champions League and have fans all over the wold. Somebody has to give us another format, to earn more money. Without earning more money, this will all die.
“I’ve never seen aggression greater than on the part of the president of UEFA and the president of La Liga, it was orchestrated, it surprised us all. I’ve never seen anything like it. Insults, threats, as if we’d killed someone, or killed football. There was someone out of the six English clubs who didn’t have much interest. That started to affect the others, and there was fear. One of the English clubs was never really convinced.
“Juventus and Milan haven’t left. Barcelona are thinking about it. We could change it, so the top four of England and Spain can enter. The important thing is that the big teams play each other, so the kids will watch football. We’re working to save football after the pandemic. Madrid’s income has fallen from €900m to €600m this year. We’ve worked very hard on something that would satisfy everyone, and we didn’t expect such a response.”