Real Madrid president Florentino Perez spoke with Onda Cero on Thursday evening, with his comments carried by Marca. Florentino spoke about the team’s future without Zinedine Zidane and Sergio Ramos, gave an update on the pursuit of Kylian Mbappe, and spoke about the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the situation with the Super League.
The Super League has been one of the biggest stories of the season, with Florentino playing a key role in its promotion alongside Andrea Agnelli of Juventus and Joan Laporta of Barcelona. It’s divided the footballing world, but Florentino remains forthright that it’s the way forward.
“Football is losing interest, it has no attractions,” he said. “TV ratings are falling and that’s the problem. We want to satisfy everybody, and that’s why there’s less appeal. This Super League is made up of the clubs with the most followers in the world; if there is no money, football is going to die.”
Madrid have been linked with a move for Mbappe, currently of Paris Saint-Germain and on duty with the French national team at Euro 2020, for many months. Florentino, while quite clearly not shutting down his interest in the precocious marksman, was reluctant to openly court him.
“I know what the Real Madrid socios want,” he said. “They know what my policy is, mixing the best with the young. But I don’t want to talk about a player who isn’t ours; the people who know me trust me, and Mbappe is a great player.”
This summer has already been marked by two departures of enormous significance for Madrid, with coach Zidane and captain Ramos both leaving the club. Florentino paid respect to two club legends, re-affirmed the strength of his relationship with them, but clearly postured that the club would survive.
“I know [Zidane] and it’s been a hard year,” he said. “I fought for him to stay. I haven’t read the farewell letter but I swear by my grandchildren that the one who wrote that letter wasn’t Zidane. But I wish him well; he’s been a legend for Real Madrid and has the respect of all of us. His dream is to be the coach of France and he’ll surely achieve it.”
Zidane’s departure was of his own accord, but Ramos’ was very much the club’s decision. They didn’t want to offer the Andalusian a multi-year contract, instead pushing for a one-year deal. By the time Ramos was ready to accept the one-year option, the club took it off the table; Ramos was critical that Florentino didn’t attend his farewell press conference.
“I love Ramos like a son,” Florentino said. “I’ve never been to a press conference with a player. I brought him [to the club] in 2005, and I have adoration for him. He’s been a legend and we’ve always maintained that. We offered him a contract, it had a deadline, and he didn’t abide by it. This is his home, and he’ll for sure return in another position.”